Qualcomm Confirms Two New Snapdragon Processors

Qualcomm has confirmed two new Snapdragon processors are scheduled for 2011, promising better performance associated with HD video

The battle over who will be the dominant chip supplier to the mobile industry continues after Qualcomm confirmed two new Snapdragon processors for next year.

Announced at the Innovation Qualcomm (IQ) event in London this week, the first processor to arrive will be the 1.2GHz MSM8260, available from early 2011.

A 1.5Ghz version, however, will not appear until the end of next year.

HD Video

Qualcomm is touting one performance benefit from the new dual-core chips, namely to do with high-definition video.

“We are accelerating video in hardware, with a dedicated video core that can make a crisp, clear picture,” Qualcomm product manager Aytac Biber told PC Pro. “We can offload the burden of these operations from the general purpose CPU so that it can take care of the household tasks.”

The company is also apparently planning to introduce what it calls Augmented Reality displays that will use a phone’s camera to capture images and overlay relevant information on the display. This would allow a user to point their phone at a shop and appropriate information such as opening times would also be displayed on the image.

Mobile Chip War

The battle to supply chips and processors to the mobile industry is hotting up. Earlier this week, Samsung Electronics launched the 1GHz ARM Cortex A9-based dual-core application processor (codenamed Orion), designed specifically to meet the needs of high-performance, low-power mobile applications including tablets, netbooks and smartphones.

And after months of speculation, Intel announced last month that it is buying Infineon Technologies’ mobile chip unit, signalling its aggressive push into the exploding Internet-connected mobile device space.

Back in July Microsoft signed a deal with British chip manufacturer ARM Holdings – which provides the processors for most of the world’s leading smartphones – to license the company’s architecture and gain access to processor blueprints.

ARM Still Rules

And even Apple was rumoured to be considering a multi-billion pound takeover of ARM Holdings earlier this year, as the company provides chips for Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The news drove ARM stock prices up to an eight-year high, but ARM executives were quick to play down the rumours.

Meanwhile, ARM has just announced the Cortex-A15 MPCore, which it claims is five times the speed of current smartphone processors at 2.5GHz.

Although this chip is designed for smartphones, ARM is apparently also eying up high-end digital home entertainment devices, wireless base stations and enterprise infrastructure products as possible applications.

And even small servers have been mentioned.