Qualcomm’s New Mid-Range Chip Is Based On A Three-Year-Old Model, Company Confirms

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Earlier this month, the California-based chip manufacturing giant Qualcomm revealed a new mid-range chip, the Snapdragon 6s Gen 3. The processor is built on a 64-bit architecture and features Kyro cores with a peak frequency of 2.3GHz. It also has an AI Engine, Bluetooth v5.2, and supports a 120Hz display. The first smartphone that features this processor is the Moto G85.

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The Snapdragon 6s Gen 3 Had A Lot Of Similarities With An Old Processor

Snapdragon 6s gen 3

From the name, the Snapdragon 6s Gen 3 looks like the successor to the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chip, but that isn’t the case. When the chip came out, we discussed in our official chat group how the processor is essentially the Snapdragon 695 with 0.1GHz extra clock speed. The official spec sheet also revealed that it couldn’t play 4K videos, had a poor ISP, and had an underwhelming performance.

It wasn’t just SmartPrix that noticed the lack of improvements in the new chip. The Snapdragon 6s Gen 3 and Snapdragon 695 have the following similarities.

  • They share their model number (SM6375-AC vs. SM6375)
  • They’re both based on TSMC’s 6nm fabrication process
  • Similar CPU setup
  • Similar GPU
  • Identical model
  • Identical camera features

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Qualcomm Confirms Rebranding Snapdragon 695 As The Snapdragon 6s Gen 3

Redmi Pad SE Snapdragon 680

Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), Qualcomm has recently confirmed that the Snapdragon 6s Gen 3 and the Snapdragon 695 are essentially the same chips. In a statement to Android Authority, the manufacturer has clarified that the 6s Gen 3 “is an enhanced version of Snapdragon 695.” The company also adds that the new processor delivers improved CPU, GPU, and AI performance.

In other words, the company has confirmed that the chip it launched a week ago (as a new chip) is based on a three-year-old version. Yes, the company says the processor provides slightly better CPU and GPU performance, but is it enough to pass the Snapdragon 6s Gen 3 with the new moniker? Yes, the CPU has a 0.1GHz higher clock speed on paper, but we can’t say the same about the GPU.

Further, it’s unlikely that the processor will be able to deliver an on-device AI experience, as they require higher processing power. Even so, we would want to wait and see if the Snapdragon 6s Gen 3-powered smartphones can run any GenAI features to make an informed comment on that.

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Why Did Qualcomm Rebrand An Old Processor?

tata semiconductor

The most plausible reason behind this could be the higher costs of developing a new chip from scratch. To do so, companies have to dedicate a team of engineers who spend months trying to perfect a chip design. Then, the companies produce a few units of the processor, tested on compatible smartphones. If the test results are stable and the smartphone works fine, the processor enters mass production. While the entire processor is profitable for high-end chipsets, which the company can sell at higher prices, they aren’t as profitable when done for low-end chips.

Not Making New Processor Would Give Competitors An Edge

Given that the processor offers mid-range performance, it is likely to power devices between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 25,000 in India. This particular category sees customers who usually don’t (rather can’t) upgrade their smartphones every year. Given that Snapdragon generally makes efficient processors that last for years, providing a three-year-old chip (with minor tweaks) isn’t something customers would want. In addition, this also gives the competition, like MediaTek, a chance to provide better solutions to OEMs and, eventually, end users.

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Qualcomm’s Portfolio Has Never Been Stronger

Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 SoC

And it’s not like the company is struggling to move forward with its chips. Its mobile processor portfolio has never been stronger. We have the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC for flagship smartphones, the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 for “flagship killers,” and the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3 for upper mid-range smartphones.

Most recently, the company has pushed its Snapdragon X series of devices as part of the Windows on Arm-based CPUs campaign. Do you see where we are going with this? Being a company that provides powerful yet cost-effective solutions for different types of computing needs, Qualcomm should focus more on the lower-end smartphone segment by releasing new processors instead of rebranded ones that are years old.

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Shikhar MehrotraShikhar Mehrotra
A tech enthusiast at heart, Shikhar Mehrotra has been writing news since college for an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Over the last four years, he has worked with several national and international publications, including Republic World, and ScreenRant, writing news, how-to explainers, smartphone comparisons, reviews, and list-type articles. When he is not working, Shikhar likes to click pictures, make videos for his YouTube channel, and watch the American sitcom Friends.

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