Android Automotive might just be the most exciting thing going in the world of Android. Not to be confused with the older Android Auto, Automotive is a ground-up open source operating system for managing a car's entire interaction with the driver. We've seen a lot of commitments from manufacturers like Chevy and Ford, but so far few production vehicles are ready to roll with Android Automotive. French manufacturer Renault might just get the next one out: its new all-electric Mégane E-Tech crossover.
It's hard to believe with Apple now being the dominant force in the wearable market, but Google and Qualcomm actually introduced their smartwatches earlier. Unfortunately, we all know how Wear OS (or back then, Android Wear) quickly got lapped by Apple's and Samsung's offers, regarding both hardware and software. While Google has given up on Wear OS as we know it and now partners with Samsung for upcoming versions, Qualcomm ist still basically the only manufacturer providing the underlying chipsets for smartwatches not made by Samsung. And according to an investigation conducted by WinFuture, we might soon be in for a brand-new chipset.
Bluetooth audio is hardly cutting-edge. Bargain bin buds can be had these days for $15 on sale, and folks buy them in droves. But they're not all created equal — different models and different phones support different standards with different qualities. Qualcomm, with its fingers in basically every part of the smartphone pie, decided earlier this year to roll out a new Snapdragon Sound certification: a single badge you could look for that means "this thing does the good audio stuff." And today, the company has announced that Snapdragon Sound will support lossless CD-quality audio, which is all the rage these days now that Apple Music has it.
Chrome OS has been a home OS to many a convertible laptop — their unibody form factors and 360° hinges appeal to those looking for a keyboard one minute, none the next. HP, though, is pushing into the burgeoning convertible tablet space alongside Lenovo and Asus with the all-new Chromebook x2 11.
Your Android phone is probably powered by one of Qualcomm's processors. Whether it's the high-end Snapdragon 888 or the gaming-focused 780G, the company powers countless mobile devices without much competition. If you've always wanted to own a Qualcomm-branded phone, however, today's your lucky day. Created in partnership with Asus, the new "Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders" is now available for pre-order.
In the midst of the ongoing global chip shortage, it's been quite clear that premium products are getting the priority from research and development to the foundry. On that note, Qualcomm has just announced a half-step iteration to its top mobile SoC for 2021, the Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G Mobile Platform.
Chromebooks have grown exponentially more popular over the last year, with Google promising more than 50 new laptops planned for 2021. With so many models available across various price points, manufacturers need to turn to the latest chipsets to squeeze out as much power as possible. Qualcomm is looking to follow up on its first lineup of Snapdragon 7c-powered computers with a refreshed chipset for the second half of 2021.
Do you know what the Neural Networks API is? If you don't, it's fine, it's one of those surprisingly complex things that makes a lot of different parts of Android better without ever being very visible to the end user. Long story short: it allows developers to apply some of the extremely complicated parts of neural network processing to local Android hardware, getting a boost in performance in the background. And starting soon, it'll benefit from the same kind of regular driver updates that Qualcomm has been using for its GPU driver updates.
Google and other Android manufacturers try to keep on top of the hardware and software security, at varying degrees of intensity. But a vulnerability in widely-used Qualcomm SoCs disclosed by Check Point Research today was particularly alarming. It could theoretically allow a malicious app to patch the software for Qualcomm's MSM modem chips, giving it access to call and text history or even the ability to record conversations. Thankfully, most Samsung phones have already received a patch fixing the problem, and the rest is in for an update next month.
Phones based on Qualcomm's 700-series Snapdragon processors have been a hit as of late, combining serious performance with surprising value. Today the company announced its most powerful entrant in the series, the Snapdragon 780G. Versus the 765G as seen in recent Pixels, the 780G uses a 5nm fabrication process, allowing for faster speeds and greater efficiency.