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Forget SoC, Qualcomm Snapdragon SiP1 is the future of smartphone processors, unveiled with new Asus phones

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Forget SoC, Qualcomm Snapdragon SiP1 is the future of smartphone processors, unveiled with new Asus phones

The new System-in-Package by Qualcomm offers more space than a conventional System-on-Chip. Asus debuts the Snapdragon SiP1 in the ZenFone Max Shot and ZenFone Max Plus M2.

Asus has been quite active in the Indian market with its affordable range of Android smartphones. The brand has been tasting success with the adoption of stock Android in India. However, the company is taking a massive leap ahead in terms of smartphone designing in Brazil with two new budget smartphones. Asus has launched the ZenFone Max Shot and ZenFone Max Plus M2 in Brazil, and both of them look to be just another budget offering from Asus. Except for two differences - a triple camera setup on the Max Shot and the chipset inside.

Let's discuss the general features first. The ZenFone Max Shot is a smartphone meant for photography - thanks to its 12-megapixel regular sensor + 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor + 5-megapixel depth sensor triple camera setup. The ZenFone Max Plus M2 only gets a 12-megapixel + 5-megapixel dual camera system. Both of them get 8-megapixel selfie cameras up front. Both of them get a 6.2-inch full HD+ IPS LCD screens with a notch on top. The Max Shot will be available with 3GB or 4GB RAM and 32GB or 64GB storage while the Max Plus M2 will only get 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. Both are powered by a 4000mAh battery and are running on Android 8.1 Oreo, with the Pie update scheduled in the coming months.

When it comes to what the phones are built around, it's a different story altogether. The new Asus phones don't use a conventional System-on-Chip (SoC) like the ones used on any other smartphone. Instead, Asus is using Qualcomm's new Snapdragon SiP1 chip - SiP stands for System-in-Package. A System-in-Package is the evolution of the System-on-Chip and is of great benefit to smartphone manufacturers.

What is a System-in-Package

In a System-in-Package configuration, the vendor offers the application processor, power management, RF front end, audio codec and other important bits together in a small chip. The entire package is sold as a unit to the smartphone manufacturers. Since all the important bits are consolidated inside a compressed chip, the circuit board gets more space, thereby offering smartphone manufacturers more space to fit components inside. It also makes the engineering and manufacturing process easier, thereby reducing the overall cost to the end-consumer.

Currently, Qualcomm is only manufacturing the SiP in Brazil. The chipsets powering the new Asus smartphones are called the Snapdragon SiP1 and are meant for use in budget devices. The Snapdragon SiP1 offers similar performance to a Snapdragon 450 SoC and therefore, performance should be mostly good. The Snapdragon SiP1 is using an Adreno 506 GPU. Asus says the new chipset aids better battery life.

System-in-Package vs System-on-Chip

Compared to a System-on-Chip (SoC), a System-in-Package offers more space on the circuit board, thereby liberating more space for manufacturers to fit more components. Since the important bits, such as the processor, GPU and others, have been tested and offered as a unit, it reduces complexities and overall manufacturing costs. In Asus' case, they could offer a triple camera setup with the ZenFone Max Shot.