Qualcomm Introduces Two New Low-Power Chipsets for IoT Devices

IoT devices are going to become a little friendlier on the wallet in more ways than one soon. Today, Qualcomm is announcing their Snapdragon 600E and 410E chipsets, low-power versions of the existing 600 and 410 chipsets. The E series will be a little less powerful, but will consume less energy and come with a 10-year manufacturing and support guarantee.

We usually talk about Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets when we cover new smartphones — the chipsets in use there are among Qualcomm’s most powerful. The two new ones are a little less powerful and will mostly be used to power single-use devices like digital signs, streaming set-top boxes, and medical devices, along with a whole host of smart home gadgets. That’s why making low power versions of these chipsets is so great — none of those devices need to be super powerful. Businesses or consumers who use a lot of those devices stand to save a lot on energy bills without sacrificing much in the way of performance, all while having devices that can run off a single chipset.

From the looks of it, the E-series chipsets will be nearly the same as the 600 and 410. The 600E is Qualcomm through and through, with a 1.5 GHz quad-core Krait 300 CPU, an Adreno 320 GPU, and a Hexagon DSP, along with Bluetooth 4.0 LE, 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, and GPS modules. It can also be used with a number of storage and A/V interfaces, including SATA, SD 3.0, DDR, eMMC, HDMI, LVDS, HSIC, and PCIe. That’s mostly the same as the 600, with the 600 using a 1.9 GHz Krait 300 CPU instead.

The 410E uses ARM’s CPUs instead of Qualcomm’s homegrown Krait series. It has a quad-core 1.2 GHz ARM CPU, an Adreno 306 GPU, and the Hexagon DSP, and supports Bluetooth 4.1 LE, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and GPS. The clock speed on the 410E is the same as on the 410, so we’re not sure what the differences are between the two yet.

There’s some cool news here from DIY-ers and would-be tech entrepreneurs, too. For the first time, Qualcomm will sell their chipsets by themselves, without being attached to a board. When they become available, the 600E and 410E will be available through Arrow Electronics. Usually, Qualcomm sells in bulk to business partners, but with these new chipsets, it’ll be possible to buy them one at a time if desired. As usual, they’ll also be available pre-embedded in development boards or ready-made modules, too. The 410E will be available in all those forms starting today, while the 600E will be available sometime in the coming months. And, in an unusual move, Qualcomm is guaranteeing the E-series chipsets for 10 years, dated to 2015. That means that until 2025, Qualcomm has committed to not only manufacturing the 410E and 600E, but supporting them with compatible components, as well.

UPDATE 09/30/2016 – This post previously stated that the 600E will be available immediately. Qualcomm reps have informed us that only the 410E is out now, while the 600E will be available in the coming months. We regret the error. We also learned more about Qualcomm’s 10-year guarantee for the E-series chipsets. The post has been amended with the new information.

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