Qualcomm is going to release an upgraded version of its S4 generation Snapdragon chipset in the second half of 2012, the company announced at MWC 2012 today.
The more capable and powerful S4 "Pro" variant of the original dual-core MSM8960 chipset (which can be found in the HTC One X, for example) will feature an Adreno 320 GPU as opposed to Adreno 225 in the regular S4 MSM8960. Before this announcement, Adreno 320 was scheduled to accompany only the quad-core Krait CPUs, like the APQ8064 and the MSM8974 which won't be coming out until late 2012/early 2013.
Qualcomm says the new GPU could be up to four times as powerful as Adreno 225, with support for higher resolution displays, next-gen 3D graphics capabilities, and a new "computational camera" that should theoretically enable the use of light-field technology in mobile devices (you may recognize the term "light-field" from the revolutionary Lytro camera that came out last year).
Qualcomm's press release with all the juicy bits is included below:
Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon S4 "Pro" Processor
— Pro Version Builds on Success of First Snapdragon S4 Processor For Even Greater Mobile Computing Possibilities —
BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) announced today that the Company will offer a Pro version of the Snapdragon™ S4 MSM8960 processor to enable even more capable mobile computing devices. The successful Snapdragon S4 class, which has more than 120 OEM designs in development, is already raising the bar on performance and industry benchmarking, as reported in recent product reviews.
The S4 Pro processor features the Adreno 320 GPU, support for higher resolution displays, as well as hardware and software compatibility with the S4 class. The Adreno 320 is a high performance programmable GPU—with up to a four times performance improvement—providing a superior user experience for Web browsing, games, user interfaces and other graphics applications. The Adreno 320 also infuses the S4 Pro version with new multimedia capabilities, including computational camera—the ability to tap directly into the computational capability of the Adreno 320 GPU through new APIs like OpenCL, to enable next-generation use cases such as light-field cameras for mobile devices. In support of next-generation 3D graphics APIs, Adreno 320 will enable more realistic 3D graphic effects through hardware acceleration of advanced rendering features like instancing, occlusion queries and multiple render targets. Adreno 320 also includes dedicated hardware to accelerate Windows and fully supports the top game engines in the industry from Unity, Epic and others.
"As a result of strong customer demand for Snapdragon S4 processors, we've added a new Pro version of MSM8960 to continue delivering the highest performing mobile processors in the industry," said Cristiano Amon, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm. "By delivering the S4 Pro processor in 2012, we are fulfilling our promise that Snapdragon processors will remain the industry's barometer for excellence in mobile computing while helping our customers bring the most innovative smartphones and tablets to market."
The S4 Pro version of MSM8960 is optimized for the most advanced operating systems, including the highly anticipated Windows 8 system.
"Snapdragon S4 and S4 Pro are designed to enable tablets and notebook devices to deliver the high performance, flexibility, global 3G/4G connectivity and energy efficiency consumers are increasingly demanding," said Luis Pineda, senior vice president of computing and consumer products, Qualcomm. "We are excited about the Snapdragon S4 Pro processors' potential for consumers, and about the upcoming Windows 8 platform."
The S4 Pro processors are expected to come to market in the second half of 2012. Currently, there are more than 340 Snapdragon-based devices commercially available and more than 400 in development. To see which devices on the market today feature Snapdragon processors, visit www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon/devices or test-drive the latest Snapdragon-powered devices by visiting Qualcomm's exhibit (Fira Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 8, Qualcomm Booth #8B53) at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 27-March 1, 2012.
Source: Qualcomm PR