Qualcomm’s first 64-bit CPU targets lower-end smartphones

Ever since Apple(s aapl) surprised the tech world with a 64-bit CPU in the iPhone 5s’s A7 processor, other mobile silicon vendors have been in a bit of race to proffer up their own 64-bit architectures. Intel(s intc) is readying its Bay Trail 64-bit architecture for Android smartphones and tablets, and on Monday, Qualcomm announced the upcoming availability of its latest Snapdragon integrated baseband-applications processor, which supports – you guessed it — a 64-bit CPU.

Qualcomm’s new chip, the Snapdragon 410, won’t go into marquee phones like its new quad-core 805. Instead these new silicon designs are targeted at lower-end sub-$150 phones; think cheap Android phones for emerging markets. That may seem like an odd move, since 64-bit architectures are designed to support high-end features like RAM beyond 4 GB and fast-twitch gaming.

But keep in mind low-end and mid-range phones are supporting many of the features recently reserved for high-end devices. For instance, the 410 isn’t just offering better graphics than its predecessors, but also an integrated LTE baseband.

Google(s goog) hasn’t even announced support for 64-bit computing in Android yet, and these Qualcomm chips won’t ship until the second half of 2014. There’s plenty of time for Qualcomm to introduce 64-bit architectures across its Snapdragon line while the mobile industry is still preparing to take advantage of it.