Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all outdated hardware away. Qualcomm is pretty eager to top itself when it comes to ARM architectures, and to that end has announced its latest high-end CPU and GPU chips set to fill future smartphones and tablets. The Snapdragon 805 CPU and the new Adreno 420 GPU will be ready for mass-produced devices in the early half of 2014.

So what has Qualcomm done to make this new system-on-a-chip shine? In the CPU front, the maximum clock speed per core has been bumped to an even speedier 2.5GHz, up from 2.3GHz on the current 800. Memory bandwidth has been doubled at 28.6GB per second, which should provide an even better improvement for everyday apps than raw speed. The Snapdragon 805 will integrate with the current Gobi MDM9x25 LTE modem or the newly-announced MDM9x35, which uses a 20 nanometer technology for better download speeds, lower power consumption, and smaller size. Gpixel/s imaging throughput should make the overpowered cameras of current high-end phones even more impressive.

But perhaps the most dramatic announcement is the Adreno 420 GPU. Combined with the new CPU, the new architecture is designed to deliver graphics and video at up to 4K resolution. There's also support for H.265 decoding, an ultra-quality standard that's just emerging (and probably won't be relevant for Android devices for a while). Between enhanced software support, high-density rendering, hardware tessellation, geometry shaders, and other things that make PC gamers drool, Qualcomm is claiming a 40% increase in performance over the Adreno 330.

It's a pretty safe bet that HTC, LG, ASUS, and (in some cases) Samsung will have hardware featuring the new CPU and GPU some time next year. Announcements, if not actual demonstrations, at Mobile World Congress would just about fit. You can dig into the technical details in the press releases below.

NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., introduced the next generation mobile processor of the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 tier, the QualcommSnapdragon 805 processor, which is designed to deliver the highest-quality mobile video, imaging and graphics experiences at Ultra HD (4K) resolution, both on device and via Ultra HD TVs. Featuring the new Adreno 420 GPU, with up to 40 percent more graphics processing power than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 805 processor is the first mobile processor to offer system-level Ultra HD support, 4K video capture and playback and enhanced dual camera Image Signal Processors (ISPs), for superior performance, multitasking, power efficiency and mobile user experiences.

The Snapdragon 805 processor is Qualcomm Technologies' newest and highest performing Snapdragon processor to date, featuring:

  • Blazing fast apps and web browsing and outstanding performance: Krait 450 quad-core CPU, the first mobile CPU to run at speeds of up to 2.5 GHz per core, plus superior memory bandwidth support of up to 25.6 GB/second that is designed to provide unprecedented multimedia and web browsing performance.
  • Smooth, sharp user interface and games support Ultra HD resolution: The mobile industry's first end-to-end Ultra HD solution with on-device display concurrent with output to HDTV; features Qualcomm Technologies' new Adreno 420 GPU, which introduces support for hardware tessellation and geometry shaders, for advanced 4K rendering, with even more realistic scenes and objects, visually stunning user interface, graphics and mobile gaming experiences at lower power.
  • Fast, seamless connected mobile experiences: Custom, efficient integration with either the Qualcomm® Gobi MDM9x25 or the Gobi MDM9x35 modem, powering superior seamless connected mobile experiences. The Gobi MDM9x25 chipset announced in February 2013 has seen significant adoption as the first embedded, mobile computing solution to support LTE carrier aggregation and LTE Category 4 with superior peak data rates of up to 150Mbps. Additionally, Qualcomm's most advanced Wi-Fi for mobile, 2-stream dual-band Qualcomm® VIVE™ 802.11ac, enables wireless 4K video streaming and other media-intensive applications. With a low-power PCIe interface to the QCA6174, tablets and high-end smartphones can take advantage of faster mobile Wi-Fi performance (over 600 Mbps), extended operating range and concurrent Bluetooth connections, with minimal impact on battery life.
  • Ability to stream more video content at higher quality using less power: Support for Hollywood Quality Video (HQV) for video post processing, first to introduce hardware 4K HEVC (H.265) decode for mobile for extremely low-power HD video playback.
  • Sharper, higher resolution photos in low light and advanced post-processing features: First Gpixel/s throughput camera support in a mobile processor designed for a significant increase in camera speed and imaging quality. Sensor processing with gyro integration enables image stabilization for sharper, crisper photos. Qualcomm Technologies is the first to announce a mobile processor with advanced, low-power, integrated sensor processing, enabled by its custom DSP, designed to deliver a wide range of sensor-enabled mobile experiences.

The Snapdragon 805 processor is sampling now and expected to be available in commercial devices by the first half of 2014.

NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, QualcommTechnologies, Inc., introduced its fourth-generation 3G/LTE multimode solutions with the newest modem chipset, the Qualcomm® Gobi™ 9x35, and RF transceiver chip, the Qualcomm WTR3925, designed for industry-leading 4G LTE Advanced mobile broadband connectivity. Both products are fourth-generation 3G/LTE multimode solutions from Qualcomm Technologies and offer significant improvements in performance, power consumption and printed circuit board area requirements.

The Qualcomm Gobi 9x35 is the first announced cellular modem based on the 20 nm technology node with support for global carrier aggregation deployments up to 40 MHz for both LTE TDD and FDD Category 6 with download speeds of up to 300 Mbps. The Gobi 9x35 is backwards compatible and supports all other major cellular technologies, including DC-HSPA, EVDO Rev. B, CDMA 1x, GSM and TD-SCDMA. The Qualcomm WTR3925 is the first announced RF transceiver chip based on the 28 nm process, and is QualcommTechnologies' first single-chip, carrier aggregation RF solution that supports all carrier aggregation band combinations approved by 3GPP. The WTR3925 pairs with the Gobi 9x35 chipset and the Qualcomm RF360™ Front End Solution, which enable the mobile industry's premier global, single-SKU LTE platform.

The Gobi 9x35 and WTR3925 are specifically designed to use less power and occupy less printed circuit board area and continue the trend towards tighter integration, smaller size and increased performance. The 40 MHz carrier aggregation capability of the Gobi 9x35, coupled with the comprehensive carrier aggregation band support of the WTR3925, is engineered to allow network operators to combine their fragmented spectrum in all possible 3GPP-approved combinations of 5 MHz, 10 MHz, 15 MHz, and 20 MHz bandwidths to increase capacity and service more subscribers with an improved end-user experience. The WTR3925 also incorporates the Qualcomm IZat™ location platform designed for delivery of seamless, global location.

For OEMs, the combination of the Gobi 9x35 modem and WTR3925 chipset enables a powerful, single platform that can be used to launch LTE Advanced devices faster at a global scale. Together, these solutions are designed to deliver up to 2X faster LTE Advanced, CAT 6 up to 300 Mbps, along with dual carrier HSUPA and dual band multi-carrier HSPA+.

It is anticipated that Qualcomm Gobi 9x35 and WTR3925 will begin sampling to customers early next year.