Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) was caught off guard when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) introduced the 64-bit, dual-core A7 processor with the iPhone 5S. One Qualcomm employee told HubSpot that it hit the chipmaker ‘in the gut’ because the company was fully unprepared for it. Suddenly everyone was talking about a 64-bit chipset in smartphones. Apple’s decision to shift to 64-bit processor seemed interesting because the iPhone 5S actually continues to be a 32-bit platform. The device runs 32-bit code, and it didn’t really need those extra 32 bits. But having a 64-bit processor made Apple look more high-tech.

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Qualcomm’s chip more advanced than A7

But Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is in a much better position now. The San Diego-based company has developed its first 64-bit octa-core processor, which boasts of integrated LTE and 4K video rendering. The Snapdragon 615 is made especially for high-end smartphones and tablets. A Qualcomm spokesperson told PCWorld that the new chipset is expected to be available in the fourth quarter this year. The Snapdragon 615, which is based on 64-bit ARM architecture ARMv8, could easily be the fastest mobile processor with its eight cores. The company also announced a quad-core version of the chip, Snapdragon 610, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Qualcomm plans to ship new chips in Q4

Today, there are only a handful of smartphones and tablets running on octa-core chipset, including Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930)’s Galaxy S4. But they were all based on 32-bit architecture. The new chips will put mobile devices into a new league in terms of speed. Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) said developers will receive the reference designs of devices with new chips in Q4, 2014. Notably, the Snapdragon 615 is a stark reversal of Qualcomm from its past opinions. When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) introduced the 64-bit A7 with the iPhone 5S, the semiconductor company questioned the benefits of 64-bit processors. Last year, Qualcomm also questioned the benefits of octa-core processors.

The new processors put Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) ahead of the iPhone maker with features like eight cores, hardware-based 4K video rendering and integrated LTE. Now the Steven Mollenkopf-led company has three 64-bit Snapdragon chips. On December 10, Qualcomm had launched its first 64-bit processor Snapdragon 410.

Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) shares fell 0.69% on Tuesday to close at $74.91.