Qualcomm bets big on Snapdragon 820 chipset for 2016

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) officially debuted its Snapdragon 820 chipset, which it expects to be its flagship product that will power high-end smartphones next year. The silicon giant first unveiled the 820 at Mobile World Congress in March and has been dribbling out details about the chipset, but held a press event in New York City yesterday to explain its key benefits.

As CNET notes, Qualcomm claimed that the chipset's Adreno 530 graphics processing unit will be 40 percent more power efficient than the Snapdragon 810 predecessor and have a 40 percent increase in performance. The company also said the 820 will also consume 60 percent less power than its older Snapdragon 801 processor. The 810 was dinged this year for overheating in certain cases, but Qualcomm has made strides to address those issues. As PC Mag reports, the new silicon has new power-efficient, custom new Kryo cores integrated with a high-end LTE modem. "Is it thermally efficient? Does it deliver more battery life? The answer to all of these things is absolutely yes," Qualcomm CMO Tim McDonough said at the event, according to PC Mag.

The chip is also designed specifically to support "immersive" virtual reality applications. And it comes integrated with Qualcomm's new "X12" LTE modem, which supports theoretical peak downlink speeds of 600 Mbps and uplink speeds of 150 Mbps. While most customers won't see those speeds in the real world, the 820 also sports 60 GHz Wi-Fi 802.11ad, which allows for gigabit-file transfer speeds over Wi-Fi.

Qualcomm, which is cutting costs and thousands of jobs, needs the 820 to be a success to help it get back on track amid licensing disputes in China that have cut into its profits. Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 820 is already going to be in more than 60 devices next year, including smartphones, cameras, cars and even drones. Article

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