Wired, June 1, 2010:
Pick any of the smartphones launched this year and chances are it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in it. The Snapdragon chips, which can run at up to 1 GHz, have been at the core of devices such as Google’s Nexus One, HTC’s Incredible and the HTC Evo 4G.
Now Qualcomm is getting ready to introduce dual-CPU chipsets that boost the speed to 1.2 GHz and 1.5 GHz. The chipsets, called MSM826, MSM8660 and QSD8672, are likely to show up in stores by the end of the year. Handset manufacturers are currently designing products based on the processors, says Qualcomm.
The dual cores and higher processing speeds will allow for better multimedia performance. The chipsets also include a graphics processing unit with 3-D and 2-D acceleration engines for better rendering, 1080p video encoding and decoding capabilities, and integrated low-power GPS. They can support 24-bit 1280 x 800 resolution displays, says Qualcomm.
As smartphones get more ambitious in their desire to offer a video and web experience similar to that of PCs, there’s greater need for increased processing power. Last month, Adobe showed an early version of the Flash Player 10.1 for the Android operating system. Flash Player 10.1 on Nexus One can display video and animation unmatched by most other smartphones. But the technology also requires more processing power than current devices can offer. In Wired.com’s tests, the Nexus One’s 1 GHz Snapdragon processor seemed sluggish and struggled to render Flash sites quickly using Flash Player 10.1. Adobe has said it is hoping a newer generation of smartphones will change that experience.
Qualcomm is certainly trying to encourage it. At the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, Qualcomm is showing a range of new Snapdragon-powered devices — not all of them phones. Among them are Acer’s newly launched Liquid and neoTouch smartphones, Dell’s Streak 5-inch Android tablet, Huawei’s S7 tablet and Lenovo’s LePhone smartphone