Today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Qualcomm announced its first new tier of Snapdragon chipsets since it introduced the Snapdragon 800 series at CES 2013. The Snapdragon 700 series is "designed to exceed what is expected from today’s high-tier mobile experiences, with features and performance previously only available in the premium Snapdragon 800 Mobile Platform Series."
To be clear, the company isn't actually announcing any new hardware today, so there aren't any specs that we can compare and contrast to existing chipsets. Obviously, the 700 series will be better than the 600 series - which was previously designated for the high-end - and not as powerful as the premium tier 800 series.
One of the hottest features to tout in a new SoC is AI, and the Snapdragon 700 series is no different. Qualcomm says that these new processors will include the Qualcomm AI Engine, which allows for a 2x improvement in AI applications, when compared to the existing Snapdragon 660.
The firm is also promising improvements to the camera, performance, battery life, and connectivity. The 700 series will "debut new architectures" for the Spectra ISP, Kryo CPU, and Adreno GPU.
"The Snapdragon 700 Mobile Platform Series will bring premium tier technologies and features into more affordable devices, something our global OEM customers and consumers are demanding," said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager, mobile, Qualcomm Technologies. "From our cutting-edge Qualcomm AI Engine to superior camera, device performance and power, the Snapdragon 700 Series is optimized to support the experiences consumers have come to expect from the most advanced mobile devices at a lower price point."
Part of what Qualcomm is trying to do is compete in the Chinese market, where demand is high for high-end devices at lower price points. It's similar to what MediaTek just announced with the P60, as the company noted that in the United States, there's really only a market for expensive premium devices and low end prepaid phones, whereas in China and other international markets, more people are likely to spend $500 on a high end device.
Qualcomm says that commercial samples of the first Snapdragon 700 series chips will be available in the first half of 2018.