Qualcomm introduces its first major upgrade to the 200 series of chipsets

It's been a while since we've heard about the Qualcomm 200 series, previously called Snapdragon 200. The last one was the Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform, a dual-core LTE chip for feature phones. But the truth is that the original Snapdragon 200 has never received a meaningful upgrade. It got LTE support with the Snapdragon 210, and a couple of GPU bumps, but it's always been based on Cortex-A7.

Now, we finally have a real successor to the Snapdragon 200, 210, and 212, which are all years old. The Qualcomm 215 is a 1.3GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 chipset, which is indeed a meaningful upgrade from Cortex-A7. As you'd expect, it's designed for entry-level smartphones.

"Featuring a 64-bit CPU and dual-ISPs, the Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform is a significant milestone for the expansion of the entire mobile industry," said Kedar Kondap, vice president of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "We’re raising the bar for mass market devices and enabling experiences that were never before possible in the 2-series."

Many aspects of the chipset are similar to the Snapdragon 410, which isn't surprising. After all, the low-end is often all about taking features from the tier above it. Aside from being the first 200 series 64-bit chips, it adds a dual ISP, support for a 13MP camera, support for 1080p video capture, support for HD displays with taller aspect ratios than 16:9 (1560x720), a Hexagon DSP, support for dual SIM and dual VoLTE, and support for NFC payments.

It packs an Adreno 308 GPU, and it has the same Snapdragon X5 LTE modem that was in the Snapdragon 212 Mobile Platform, meaning you can get download speeds of up to 150Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps. It also supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 1.0.

Qualcomm says that devices with the 215 should begin showing up in the second half of this year. One thing is for sure. With Cortex-A53 cores instead of Cortex-A7, there should be a big performance boost.

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