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Snapdragon 410 is a 64-bit 4G chip for sub-£100 phones

The iPhone's 64-bit chip is not a "gimmick" after all, says Qualcomm in an embarrassing U-turn.

Budget smart phones are set to rival the iPhone 5S with 64-bit power. Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 410 chipset, sprinkled with extra 4G -- just a couple of months after a Qualcomm boss branded 64-bit chips "a gimmick".

The new chip is designed for phones costing less than $150 (about £90), bringing 4G to phones that don't cost the earth. It runs Android, Windows Phone and Firefox software, and is expected to make it into phones in the second half of next year.

Manufactured using 28nm process technology, the new 410 chipset supports the Adreno 306 graphics processor, 1080p video playback and up to a 13-megapixel camera.

The Snapdragon 410 chip has integrated 4G LTE World Mode. That means it should run on any 4G network, which in this country means it can power phones on EE as well as Vodafone, O2 and Three. In emerging markets, Qualcomm says it's "poised to address the needs of consumers as 4G LTE begins to ramp in China."

The Snapdragon 410 is "the first of many 64-bit capable processors",  Qualcomm reveals in today's press release, which also hints at plans to "lead the transition of the mobile ecosystem to 64-bit processing."

That's a far cry from comments made back in October by Qualcomm's then chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher, who described the iPhone 5S's 64-bit chip as a "marketing gimmick" with "zero benefit" for consumers. For his indiscretion Chandrasekher has since been quietly shunted away from an executive position.

Samsung's forthcoming Galaxy S5 is rumoured to be one of the first phones to follow the iPhone 5S in adopting a 64-bit chip.  

Is the iPhone's chip a gimmick? Are you looking forward to 64-bit mobiles? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our 8-bit Facebook page.