Octa-core, 64-bit SoC power is coming to budget buyers

HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) played it a bit conservative with the HTC One M8's hardware spec, opting for only modest updates of its high-end flagship, and in some cases scaling its capabilities back from the previous year (for example, dropping the optical image stabilization package).  In the mid-range, though, were HTC has for some time expressed its largest interest in, the Taiwanese phonemaker appears poised to flex a bit of its muscle, adopting a bleeding edge spec.

The HTC Desire 820, the successor to February's HTC Desire 816, brings a major boost in both core count and processor architecture over its Snapdragon 400 powered predecessor.

The caption of HTC's teaser, posted by the company's official account on Chinese microblogging service Weibo, suggests a September 4th unveil -- a date which would put it just before the IFA 2014 (Sept. 5-10th) mobile electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany.  The text also reads:

World's first 8-core 64 (bit) phone -- yes, this is the first.

HTC Desire 820
HTC's Desire 820 appears to be packing the Snapdragon 615 onboard. [Image Source: HTC]

That title suggests that HTC is using Qualcomm Inc.'s (QCOM) new Snapdragon 615 chip, an octa-core 64-bit system-on-a-chip (SoC) based on ARM Holdings plc's (LON:ARM) Cortex-A53 core design.  The Snapdragon 410 (also 64-bit) would seem perhaps a more likely candidate, given the Snapdragon 400 found in the Desire 816; however, it does not come in an octacore variety, so the caption is almost certainly indicating the Snapdragon 615 is the chip du'jour.

Finer technical details of the Snapdragon 615 are still a little scarce, as it just now is starting to sample.  However, according to various leaks, we've heard the clock speed for this chip should be about 1.8 GHz for half the Cortex-A53 cores and about 1.0 GHz for the other quartet.  This makes the Snapdragon 615 a sort of quasi big.LITTLE chip, although it uses different tuning than true big.LITTLE cores.

Suffice it to say, though, between the four powerful 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set architecture cores, and the powerful onboard Adreno 405 GPU, this chip should be a midrange powerhouse.

HTC in a corresponding press release brags about its other firsts:
  • 2008
    • First Android smartphone (HTC Dream, aka the "G1" on T-Mobile U.S., Inc. (TMUS))
    • First WiMAX device (HTC Quartz w/ Windows Mobile, aka HTC Max 4G)
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
HTC Desire 820 -- firsts

Stay tuned -- sounds like we'll learn more about this phone in short order.

Sources: HTC on Weibo, via GSM Arena

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