Qualcomm unveiled and demonstrated the flagship Snapdragon 820 SoC in New York yesterday. This is Qualcomm's new hope for dominating the flagship smartphone space. The chipmaker says that the Snapdragon 820 boasts "ultra-fast performance, leading connectivity, strong security, and long battery life". The newfound power available from this "holistically designed" SoC will be used by device makers to deliver immersive experiences, thinks Qualcomm.
There wasn't much new to learn about the Snapdragon 820, but at last we got to see the whole package presented together, hear how all the SoC components work together and enjoy some video demos showing the Snapdragon 820's capabilities. Starting our coverage by looking at the hardware spec, Qualcomm confirmed that the Snapdragon 820 will be manufactured on 14nm FinFET technology and will include the following key components:
- X12 LTE modem
- 64-bit capable custom Kryo CPU
- Adreno 530 GPU
- Hexagon 680 DSP with Hexagon Vector eXtensions and a sensor processing 'low power island'
- 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra ISP
- Premiere features and capabilities leveraging the Qualcomm Zeroth platform, the company’s first neural processing platform
- Qualcomm Snapdragon Smart Protect for real-time, on-device machine learning for detection of zero-day malware threats, designed to deliver improved personal privacy and device security.
The combination of the Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU and the Qualcomm Kryo CPU were shown in action in a video demo. The Paris apartment rendering featured Epic's latest Unreal Engine (UE4) and you could see an HDRR rendered scene with realtime dynamic reflections, realistic colours and lighting temporal anti-aliasing and other modern graphics technologies.
Qualcomm also showed an interesting new experience called 'Snapdragon Scene Detect' where the deep-learning-based Zeroth neural processing platform analysed camera images in fractions of a second and provided intelligent tags to help you organise your pictures. Still on the topic of imaging Snapdragon Low Light Vision (LLV) helps provide adaptive brightness and noise reduction and reduce HDR motion artifacts. Qualcomm's Qualcomm Spectra ISP and Qualcomm Hexagon 680 DSP are particularly adept at these tasks.
Audio, as part of the smartphone experience, hasn't been neglected. According to Qualcomm, with two front facing speakers its 'Immersive Audio' experience is unmatched for a handheld device.
Last but not least connectivity is amply catered for as the Snapdragon 820 offers the best Wi-Fi and LTE capabilities yet. Wi-Fi up to 802.11ad and 802.11ac 2x2 MU-MIMO is supported. The X12 LTE modem offers down/up speeds of 600/150Mbps and LTE-U can access LTE connections in both licensed spectrum and unlicensed spectrum.