By Jef Cozza / CIO Today. Updated August 12, 2015.
With a new high-end mobile chip coming to market, Qualcomm is aiming to win back some love from smartphone makers like Samsung that have recently moved away from the company’s system-on-a-chip products. The new processor, the Snapdragon 820, a successor to the Snapdragon 808 and 810, will offer huge leaps in camera quality, power use, and heat generation, according to Qualcomm.
“We’re significantly enhancing the visual processing capabilities of Snapdragon to support next-generation user experiences related to computational photography, computer vision, virtual reality and photo-realistic graphics on mobile devices, all while maximizing battery life,” said Tim Leland, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies Inc.
Snapdragon 820 will feature new advances, such as the Adreno 530 and Adreno 510 graphics processing units, and the new 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra image signal processing unit, designed to support superior DSLR-quality photography and enhanced computer vision.
Faster Performance, Lower Power Drain
The Adreno 5xx architecture will function as the basis for its next-generation GPUs and act as the successor to the Adreno 4xx family, according to the company. Qualcomm claimed the new architecture will provide a variety of benefits over current chips, including up to 40 percent lower power consumption and 40 percent faster performance in both graphics rendering and computing.
The new chip will also support several of the latest graphics and computing APIs, such as OpenGL ES 3.1+AEP (Android Extension Pack), Renderscript, as well as the new OpenCL 2.0 and Vulkan standards, announced earlier this week. The Vulkan standard minimizes driver overhead and enables multi-threaded performance on mobile and embedded platforms.
One of the chief improvements as a result of the upgrades will be enhanced image quality, with the Snapdragon 820 supporting up to three cameras per mobile device and allowing devices to capture up to 25 megapixels at 30 frames per second with no shutter lag.
Besides sharper photos, Qualcomm said the new chip will also deliver a much better experience for mobile gamers, thanks to the improved graphics performance and computing capabilities. The new Snapdragon will also feature a new Kryo CPU core, but so far, Qualcomm is keeping those details under wraps.
Snapdragon & Galaxy S7?
Recently Samsung switched from the Snapdragon chips, opting to produce its own Exynos microprocessors to power the Galaxy S6 smartphone. Prior to the switch, Samsung had been using Qualcomm as its supplier of choice for its flagship handset lines. Qualcomm, meanwhile, has been under considerable pressure since losing Samsung. The company recently announced that it would be laying off 15 percent of its workforce and cutting spending by $1.4 billion.
However, reports indicate that Samsung may be replacing those 64-bit Exynos 7 processors with the Snapdragon 820 in the next generation of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S7, codename Jungfrau. This news was first reported in an August 10 story by GforGames,
Snapdragon is expected to ship sometime in the first half of next year, though Qualcomm has not specified an exact date.