CES 2017: Qualcomm continues to pursue IoT with chips and connectivity
Qualcomm is looking to make its chips the centre of the Internet of Things (IoT) arena and virtual reality, with the announcement of its Snapdragon 835 processor and a connectivity platform.
Based on a 10nm FinFET process, the new Snapdragon chip is both small and power-efficient according to Qualcomm, which has the chipmaker targeting it at IoT devices such as head-mounted displays for virtual and augmented reality, mobile PCs, tablets, and IP cameras, as well as its core market of smartphones.
Key components of the new chip include an integrated X16 LTE modem for enabling gigabit class LTE connections and support for Google’s TensorFlow machine learning algorithms; two areas that form major parts in turning connected devices into the smart networks the IoT promises.
Connecting the IoT
Qualcomm also revealed its Network IoT Connectivity platform, which as the name suggests is a platform consisting of connectivity protocols and software frameworks designed to link together Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other connectivity options together, rather than leave various IoT devices and systems left in silos of conflicting connectivity technologies. In effect, the platform works as a universal translator for disparate communications protocols.
“IoT Connectivity platform and our expanded Wi-Fi SON capabilities together are designed to deliver on that promise by directly addressing the most fundamental connectivity challenges of IoT while ensuring a broad delivery of our innovations across wired and wireless networks,” said Gopi Sirineni, vice president of product management at Qualcomm Technologies.
Further building upon this IoT push, Qualcomm also announced a partnership with Ericsson and AT&T to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials based on 5G New Radio specifications being developed by wireless standards group 3GPP, in order to accelerate the development and deployment of 5G which has been touted as the backbone network that will support much of the connectivity in the IoT world.
Finally, Qualcomm also announced a new version of its connected car reference platform using its flagship Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.
The idea is to provide car makers with a means by which thy can easily create high-speed and reliable connectivity systems in their vehicles to facilitate the use of telematics and other connected car services; another cornerstone in the IoT arena.
As such, it appears that Qualcomm is forging its path into the IoT by tackling both the compute and networking side of the tech industry’s most prevalent trend with its hardware and software tech. However, it will need to also fend-off competition from Intel, which looks to reinvigorate its Atom processor line by targeting the IoT and 5G with its Atom E3900.
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