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Qualcomm Unveils Smaller, More Powerful Snapdragon 835 Chip
Posted January 4, 2017
Qualcomm Unveils Smaller, More Powerful Snapdragon 835 Chip
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By Shirley Siluk. Updated January 4, 2017 10:12AM

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The next generation of Qualcomm Technologies' Snapdragon system-on-chip (SoC) will be far smaller, thinner and more power-efficient than than the previous version. It will also support faster wireless connectivity for mobile computing, gaming and multimedia use, the company said yesterday.

Introduced yesterday ahead of the kick-off to CES 2017, which runs from Jan. 5 through Jan. 8, in Las Vegas, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 is made by Samsung using a new 10-nanometer design that could put new pressure on competitor Intel. Currently, the global microprocessor leader, Intel is still producing 14-nanometer-based chips, although the company said it expects to begin shipping 10-nanometer technology sometime this year.

Qualcomm's new design for the Snapdragon 835 makes the SoC 35 percent smaller than the previous version, the Snapdragon 820. Combined with the Snapdragon 835's improved power profile, that means the new chip could enable significantly better battery life, charging, camera images and virtual reality applications for a range of devices, Qualcomm said.

835 To Appear in New Smart Glasses

"[A]s we embark on a new era of intelligent, connected experiences, our mobile devices are going to need a new, one-of-a-kind processor that's smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient than any chipset in history," Francisco Cheng, Qualcomm's director of technical marketing, wrote yesterday on the company's Snapdragon blog. "Qualcomm Technologies' newest mobile SoC is designed to meet every one of these rigorous requirements while setting new standards in mobile performance."

The architectural improvements in the Snapdragon 835 will pave the way for a new wave of capabilities in smartphones, virtual reality (VR) gear, Bluetooth devices, 4G connectivity and security-focused authentication, Cheng said. The improved computing power of the new SoC will also enable smarter and more dynamic machine learning applications, he added.

One of the first VR devices to incorporate the Snapdragon 835 will be Osterhout Design Group's R-8 and R-9 smart glasses, both set to hit the market later this year. Unveiled at CES yesterday, the devices will allow wearers to view movies and videos, play games and read articles and books, among other uses.

Improvements Across 5 Key Technologies

Qualcomm said the Snapdragon 835 will help deliver improvements across five key technologies: battery life, virtual/augmented reality immersion, image and video capture, connectivity and security. One of the chip's new features, Qualcomm Haven, is a security platform that supports biometric authentication via fingerprint, eye and face-based imagery.

The Snapdragon 835 also features an upgraded software framework for neural processing that will enable new machine learning capabilities, Qualcomm said. Original equipment manufacturers and software developers will be able to use these capabilities for "rich experiences such as intelligent photography, strong security and privacy protection, smart automobiles and personal assistants, and responsive and true-to-life VR and AR," Qualcomm said.

Faster connectivity will be provided through the chip's new integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which can support download speeds of up to one gigabit per second and upload speeds of up to 150 megabits per second, Qualcomm said. The company added that the new Snapdragon is also the first certified commercial technology to support the latest Bluetooth 5 standard, which promises signficant improvements over the previous Bluetooth 4 range and connection speeds.

In production now, the Snapdragon 835 will begin appearing in commercial devices hitting the market in the first half of this year, Qualcomm said.

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