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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip will enable faster and thinner phones that are ready for VR

By Koh Wanzi - on 4 Jan 2017, 8:10am

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip will enable faster and thinner phones that are ready for VR

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 size comparison

Qualcomm today unveiled more details about its upcoming Snapdragon 835 processor, the first from the company to be based on Samsung’s 10nm FinFET process. The Snapdragon 835 is the successor to 2016’s Snapdragon 820 and 821 chips, and offers a slew of improvements like faster performance, a gigabit-class LTE modem, better battery life, and beefed-up imaging and virtual reality capabilities.

Like the Snapdragon 820 before it, the Snapdragon 835 will feature Qualcomm’s own Kryo CPU cores. But while the former was a quad-core chip, the Snapdragon 835 brings back some octa-core goodness with eight Kryo 280 CPUs that can clock up to 2.45GHz.

Qualcomm is also claiming up to 25 per cent better performance with its Adreno 540 GPU, which is equipped to deliver more immersive VR experiences. The new chip builds on the existing virtual and augmented reality capabilities of its predecessor, with support for 60 times more colors – suggesting support for 10-bit HDR content – and 3D audio that more accurately renders sound in a three-dimensional space.

The Snapdragon 835 was built to support more immersive VR experiences.

In addition, the processor boasts lower latencies and support for six degrees of freedom (6DoF) for more intuitive and realistic VR experiences. As it turns out, Qualcomm says the 835 will debut on VR headsets as well.

Furthermore, adding on to its multimedia capabilities is the native support for optical zoom and enhanced electronic image stabilization during video capture. This is also the first Snapdragon processor to enable Ultra HD 4K Premium video playback, which includes HDR 10, so devices with the new chip will be ready for the next wave of HDR content.

Qualcomm even brought up machine learning, and it says the Snapdragon 835 now supports Google's TensorFlow framework and can intelligently assign machine learning algorithms to the right hardware for maximum efficiency.

The Snapdragon 835 now supports Google's TensorFlow machine learning framework.

Another notable inclusion is the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which provides Category 16 download speeds up to 1Gbps. 2x2 802.11ac with MU-MIMO has been integrated as well, so there’s no need for a separate Wi-Fi module.

Then there’s Quick Charge 4.0, the latest version of Qualcomm’s fast charging technology. The new version is fully compatible with USB-C standards, and charges 20 per cent faster than Quick Charge 3.0. The figures are impressive, with Qualcomm claiming five hours of use from a mere five minutes of charge time.

When combined with the improved power efficiency of the Snapdragon 835 (it consumes half as much power as 2014’s Snapdragon 801), consumers can probably look forward to devices that last longer and charge faster.

Finally, the smaller package of the Snapdragon 835 means that manufacturers have greater freedom to explore thinner designs and implement larger batteries.

The good news is that we won’t have to wait that long to test out Qualcomm’s claims. The first devices with the new chip are expected to launch within the first half of 2017.

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