Qualcomm's high-end processors aren't exactly without their flaws right now, but the mid-range and entry level chips from the company are still seen as the best bang for the buck. The most popular budget SoCs from Qualcomm have gotten a little spec bump, but the company didn't think that was worth even a proper press release. No matter, we've got the details on the Snapdragon 212, 412, and 616.
You are probably familiar with the issues surrounding the Snapdragon 810 by now, but a new chip is right around the corner that could get Qualcomm back on track. I speak of course of the fabled Snapdragon 820 (MSM8996). Details of this chip have allegedly been leaked in China, and while we can't know for sure that they're accurate, the slides sure look legit.
Back in late July, the Qualcomm Corporation - employer of over 30,000 individuals at the time - began the process of telling about 15% of those people (eg, over 4,000 gainfully-employed human beings) they were no longer needed. This was after already cutting another 1500 jobs in late 2014.
The company's stock is currently trading near 2-year lows, and while obviously still a very robust company, Qualcomm can't keep putting in these kinds of numbers if it's going to maintain its position at the tippy-top of the smartphone chipset market.
Qualcomm (QCOM - NASDAQ) stock is down over 10% year-to-date. It is down over 20% from its peak, reached in early 2014.
Qualcomm's current top processor is the Snapdragon 810, which is only shipping in the LG G Flex 2 and set to appear in upcoming flagships like the HTC One M9. But at Mobile World Congress the chip manufacturer is already taking the wraps off of its next-gen design, the predictably-named Snapdragon 820. Details on the exact capabilities of the new chip are scarce, but Qualcomm says it should be ready to ship to mobile manufacturers sometime in the second half of this year.
The press release below doesn't delve into speed or raw capability, instead focusing on built-in functions like enhanced photos, wireless radio innovations, security features, and "always on" services.
Not to be completely left out of the spotlight during Mobile World Congress, Cyanogen Inc. has a few announcements to make. Firstly, the logo and website you knew are now gone, replaced by something with a bit of a sci-fi vibe. More importantly, the company has partnered with Qualcomm to make it easier for Cyanogen OS to find its way onto more devices.
File this under more is better – Qualcomm has just announced new ARM chips with more bits and more cores than ever before. The Snapdragon 610 and 615 are the chip maker's new 64-bit mobile processors, and the 615 packs eight CPU cores. Despite the big headlining features, these aren't intended to be flagship chips.
Qualcomm is in the habit of making custom CPUs for its ARM chips – those are the Krait cores you hear so much about. The company has used ARM's Cortex reference designs in a few chips previously, like the Snapdragon 400. These new chips are the same story.
The Battery Guru app from Qualcomm promises to learn how you use your phone and make small tweaks to improve battery life. Glance, a new app from Qualcomm, uses that same usage data to build an intelligent lock screen. Battery Guru is required, so that means this is a Snapdragon-only experience.
Glance integrates a lot of supposedly intelligent features that tailor themselves to your usage. It lists upcoming appointments, apps you might want to use, frequent contacts, and the weather (because everything has to show the weather). There's a bit of customization to be done if you don't like the way Glance organizes things, but the idea is that you just let it do its thing.
Qualcomm wants you to imagine a world where your mobile device is always connected. No, not that phone in your pocket. Nope, not that tablet either. Bigger. That 3,000 lb. mobile device sitting the driveway. Imagine a vehicle with a screen embedded both in your dashboard and behind every headrest, all syncing up with the screens that sit in every lap except for, ideally, the driver's.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon Automotive Solutions offering combines a Snapdragon 602A processor with QTI's 3G/LTE wireless modems and WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity to provide this connected in-car experience. As the video above shows, this technology empowers owners to turn their smartphones into key fobs and use their center console to check tire pressure.
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.
Let's start with the processor, which will change depending upon which carrier you buy the phone for. The WCDMA and CDMA2000 versions of the phone intended for use on China Unicom and China Telecom, respectively, will be using a Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3Ghz on all four cores.