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MWC 2014: Qualcomm Announces Improved Snapdragon 801 Processor

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Updated Snapdragon chipset should be present in many top devices at MWC

Qualcomm has announced the release of the Snapdragon 801 mobile processor, which should power the latest generation of flagship Android devices.

An updated version of the company’s Snapdragon 800 processor, which was announced at CES 2013, the 801 features the same Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU as its predecessor, but ramps up the speed of both of these to 2.5GHz and 578MHz (from 2.26GHz and 550MHz), respectively.   It also adds support for the eMMC 5.0 standard, which allows the use of faster embedded flash storage.

The new processor has already been mentioned relating to several high-profile devices announced at MWC 2014, including Sony’s new Xperia Z2 phone and tablet, which will be available this quarter.

It could also feature in the new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, which is due to be announced at the company’s press event later today, as the Snapdragon 800 previously featured in the Galaxy S4 in place of Samsung’s own Exynos processor in some markets.

qualcomm snapdragon dragon and chipImproved performance

Qualcomm’s new processor mainly targets a boost in media capabilities as users consume an ever-increasing amount of video and audio on their devices. The Snapdragon 801 offers higher quality imaging with support for larger, faster camera sensors and improved image post-processing, as well as improved mobile graphics and gaming, and higher speed SD card memory, with Qualcomm saying that the performance increases could offer a boost of up to 30 percent on some features.

It also features dedicated hardware for dual-SIM/dual active (DSDA) service in China, as the company looks to improve its offerings in the country despite a current government monopoly investigation.

“As with all Snapdragon processors, Qualcomm Technologies continues to achieve superior processing performance through the unique and efficient integration of its custom-designed processing engines,” a company statement said.

Qualcomm has also announced the launch of two other mid to high-range processors, the Snapdragon 610 and 615, which will also feature Cat-4 LTE capability, offering users increased download speeds.

The latter marks an important milestone for Qualcomm, as the Snapdragon 615 is the first commercially available octa-core chipset featuring integrated LTE and 64-bit capabilities, while the Snapdragon 610 supports LTE and 64-bit capabilities using quad-core processing.

“Qualcomm Technologies is redefining the user experience for high-end mobile devices by amassing the unparalleled trilogy of an industry-leading LTE modem, 64-bit multicore processing, and superior multimedia,” Murthy Renduchintala, Qualcomm executive vice president, said of the new chips.

64-bit processing can be found in Apple’s A7 chip, which Qualcomm’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher was roundly criticised for after ridiculing its releaselabelling it a “marketing gimmick” and saying that consumers would get no benefit from 64-bit chips. Chandrasekher was reassigned within the company following the comments.

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