Qualcomm launches Snapdragon 820—new high-end is “faster and cooler”

Wait, Watt? Tim the VP of marketing mildly malaprops on power consumption and overheating.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Tim McDonough
Credit: Tim McDonough

Qualcomm launches its Snapdragon 820 system on a chip. After months of whispers and hyperbole, we can finally expect to see it in top-end devices early next year.

Remember those bizarre claims that it would offer DSLR-like pictures? The company has (mostly) nuked that rhetoric, thankfully.

Now the message is mainly about speed and power. And, let’s face it, that’s exactly what was needed after the 810’s underwhelming performance and its overheating débâcle.

But claims are one thing—reality can be quite another: In IT Blogwatch, bloggers trust but verify. Not to mention: Bill Nye’s 8th-Grade advice...

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Lynn La remembers the words:

The chip that will power some of 2016's biggest smartphones just got a sneak preview...eight months after its initial announcement [at] Mobile World Congress.

Consumers can expect the chip to [be in] flagship phones next year -- most likely around the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

There is pressure for Qualcomm to succeed. In July, the company announced it will reduce its workforce by 15 percent. ... And last year, Samsung...opted to equip its flagship Galaxy S6 with its proprietary Exynos 7420.  MORE

And Richard Chirgwin scribbles this colorful metaphor:

Qualcomm has finally taken the lamp out of the basket [after] disappointing revenue and profitability in its 2015 financials.

[It’s] promising LTE [at] 450 Mbps...2 x 2 MIMO for 802.11ac and 802.11ad...a doubling of processing power...a 40 per cent graphics boost...cameras up to 28 megapixels and video capture...to 4K.  MORE

So Chris Martin is looking for paradise at the launch event: [You're fired -Ed.]

An obviously important part of any SoC...the Kryo CPU...will bring up to twice the performance and twice the power efficiency.

The Adreno 530 [GPU] provides 40 percent better performance and power efficiency.

The X12 LTE modem...will provide 33 percent better performance and 15 percent better power efficiency [with] 600Mbps download...and 150Mbps upload speeds thanks to Cat 12.

Quick Charge 3.0 is designed to be four times faster than normal charging...and 38 percent more efficient than Quick Charge 2.0.  MORE

Yes, Nick Farrell gets hot under the collar:

Qualcomm...hopes [it] will take the bad taste away from its previous fire-breathing incarnation. The 810...turned out to run a little hot and caused Samsung to defect.

Tim McDonough, Qualcomm’s vice president of marketing, assures that the 820 was designed to run cooler. ... Its lower power consumption, “means lower thermals.”  MORE

“Where now for Qualcomm?” asks a curious David Steele:

Qualcomm spoke about opportunities in the low-end and mid-range chipsets...but this discounts Qualcomm’s considerable investment into their new high end Kyro custom core. ... It also puts them into direct competition with MediaTek.

With so many questions, Qualcomm are in a difficult position. The business needs the Snapdragon 820 to be a commercial success. ... Mobile application processors are moving into becoming a commodity item [yet] there are fewer and fewer chipmakers left to satisfy the smaller device manufacturers.

[It] may ultimately result in Qualcomm seeking their profits elsewhere, and this would be bad news.  MORE

Meanwhile, Richard Goodwin parrots the hyperbolic claims about its image signal processor and “computational photography”:

[Its] new, 14nm Spectra ISP unit...will deliver DSLR-like photography...the company claims.

DSLR-like photography on mobile devices...is a HUGE deal. ... Today’s imaging technology on phones is decent, says Qualcomm, but it’s not great. Spectra is designed to fix this.

[It has] support for up to three simultaneous cameras...(two rear facing) [with] 25MP sensors...zero shutter lag...flexible hybrid autofocus...and multi-sensor fusion algorithms.  MORE

And Finally...
"Hey Bill Nye, What Advice Do You Have for Our Entire 8th Grade Engineering Class?"

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by , who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk.
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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