Qualcomm has been teasing and tormenting us with its Snapdragon 820 SoC for months. Today, the company officially introduced the chip. To mark the occasion, Qualcomm held an event in New York, where marketing honcho Tim McDonough also hosted a Twitter-based Q&A session.
Let's recap what's on board this SoC. The Snapdragon 820 will have four cores based on Qualcomm's custom 64-bit Kryo CPU. Zeroth, the company's first "neural processing platform," is also in the new chip. Zeroth is apparently a dedicated deep-learning block that can be used for tasks like automatically categorizing photos by subject matter.
Updated Adreno 530 graphics ride shotgun, along with Qualcomm's Hexagon 680 DSP, Spectra ISP, and X12 LTE modem. Finally, devices based on the 820 should refuel in a hurry thanks to Quick Charge 3.0, too. The Snapdragon 820 is built on a 14-nm FinFET process.
The questions in the Twitter after-party covered a broad range of topics, but the most popular ones asked where consumers will see the next Snapdragon. McDonough didn't—and perhaps couldn't—give many specifics, but he says the Snapdragon 820 will make its way into plenty of devices starting in the first half of 2016.
We can't let the cat out of the bag just yet, but we have more than 60 device wins to date. #Snapdragon820 -Tim— Qualcomm (@Qualcomm) November 10, 2015
Another major concern was the Snapdragon 810's reputation for running hot under duress. With the Snapdragon 820, McDonough says the company has a much better handle on power efficiency.
Qualcomm has made a number of promises regarding the performance of this new SoC, including major increases in CPU and graphics performance along with big gains on energy efficiency. We'll have to see whether those promises hold true once companies begin shipping Snapdragon 820-based hardware next year.
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