Qualcomm chip updates bring faster LTE and battery charging

A phone battery charge from zero to 80 percent in 30 minutes? Bring it on! Qualcomm will include the tech in its high-end Snapdragons as well as two new mid-range chips with faster LTE radios.

Qualcomm has taken the wraps off new Snapdragon processors for mid-range phones and introduced the next version of its Quick Charge technology.

Quick Charge 3.0 will be the quickest way yet to recharge a smartphone battery and is the third iteration of Qualcomm's fast charging solution. How fast is it? The company says 27 percent quicker than the prior technology, which is used in current phones.


And compared to handsets without any fast charging capabilities, there's a huge difference.

Qualcomm says "[Y]ou can charge a typical phone from zero to 80 percent in about 35 minutes compared to conventional mobile devices without Quick Charge that may typically require almost an hour and a half."

Quick Charge 3.0 uses a new algorithm to help not only the charging times but also the thermal efficiency to maintain long-term battery charging cycles.

While wireless charging is also convenient, it's still slower than a wired Quick Charge device.

I actually prefer to plug in a phone at various times during the day -- say over a quick lunch -- to get as much juice back in the battery as possible. Once fast wireless charging can rival Quick Charge technology, we'll have the best of both worlds, of course.

Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 will be supported on phones and tablets that use the Snapdragon 820, 620, 618, 617 and 430 next year.

The latter two chips are actually new to the Snapdragon family as Qualcomm just introduced them. The Snapdragon 617 and 430 are aimed at mid-range devices even though they have some advanced features.

Aside from the octo-core chip processing, both have LTE carrier aggregation support. Look for download speeds up to 150 Mbps and uploads at 75 Mbps from the 430, with the 617 doubling the downloads and raising uploads to 100 Mbps; nearly unheard of performance from current mid-range devices.

The jewel of the lineup, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820, is no slouch in the connectivity department either.

Qualcomm says it's the first processor to support Category 12 LTE downloads and Category 13 LTE uploads with theoretical speeds of 600 Mbps and 150 Mbps, respectively. The high-end processor can also aggregate LTE and Wi-Fi signals together.