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  1. Specs of Qualcomm’s next flagship processor leaks The top of the line Qualcomm processor is currently the Snapdragon 888+, but progress never takes a rest, and the company is set to announce a new flagship in the next few months. Today reliable leaker Ice Universe spilt the beans on the name and specs of the next must-have SoC. According to Ice Universe, the successor to the Snapdragon 888 will be the Snapdragon 898, model number SM8450. The chip will be based on Arm’s new Armv9 architecture which should mean a primary Kryo 780 CPU running at 3.09GHz. The Kryo 780 is based on the Arm Cortex-X2 CPU and is said to be 16% faster than the Arm Cortex-X1 found in the Snapdragon 888. The SoC should be built on a 4nm process, an improvement on the 5nm in the Snapdragon 888. It is also expected to have the Adreno 730 GPU, up from the Adreno 660 and feature the 4nm x65 5G modem. The first devices sporting these new processors should hit the market at the end of the year or early next. via Phone Arena Specs of Qualcomm’s next flagship processor leaks
  2. Qualcomm plans to design an M1 competitor for PCs—sans ARM The first interview with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon lays out the strategy. Enlarge / Qualcomm's QTM525 5G mmWave antenna module and Snapdragon X55 5G modem. Qualcomm Qualcomm's new CEO, Cristiano Amon, says the company will have no problem producing laptop chips to compete directly with Apple's M1—mainly because Qualcomm now employs some of the key minds behind Apple's highly publicized breakthrough. Amon told Reuters in a recent interview that Qualcomm will attempt to design its own system-on-a-chip (SoC) for laptops without working with ARM, its partner in smartphone chips. This SoC would include a 5G modem as well as a CPU. Explaining this strategy, Amon said: We needed to have the leading performance for a battery-powered device. If Arm, which we’ve had a relationship with for years, eventually develops a CPU that’s better than what we can build ourselves, then we always have the option to license from Arm. This year, Qualcomm purchased startup Nuvia for $1.4 billion. Nuvia was founded by former Apple employees who had worked on the Apple Silicon transition in the lead up to the launch of the M1. Amon said that Qualcomm intends to use that Nuvia acquisition to drive the development of new chips for consumer devices, including laptops, to offer computer-makers a counterpoint to Apple's highly efficient silicon. However, Qualcomm won't be designing chips for the cloud computing and data center market. Amon noted that "we are more than willing to leverage the Nuvia CPU assets to partner with companies that are interested as they build their data center solutions." The Nuvia founders' departure from Apple in 2019 was contentious. They said they left Apple to design new chips to compete with Intel and AMD in the desktop or laptop markets, but Apple sued them, claiming that the founders took proprietary Apple technology and poached engineers in order to turn around and make Apple acquire Nuvia to regain control of what it had built. Whatever the original intention, the dispute remained unresolved when Qualcomm acquired Nuvia. Qualcomm expects to start producing the chips in question starting in 2022. Qualcomm plans to design an M1 competitor for PCs—sans ARM
  3. Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G with support for 144Hz mobile gaming At its event at the Mobile World Congress 2021 today, Qualcomm took to the stage to unveil the Snapdragon 888 Plus (or Snapdragon 888+, depending upon your preference) 5G Mobile Platform. As the name suggests, this is an enhancement to the Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform announced in December 2020. The focus this time appears to be around "AI-enhanced gameplay", with Qualcomm saying that the chipset uses the Adreno 660 GPU and Kryo 680 CPU with a clock speed of up to 3GHz, coupled with the sixth-generation Qualcomm AI Engine which provides 32 TOPS "AI performance". The latter is a 20% improvement over the Snapdragon 888. Qualcomm's senior vice president and general manager of mobile handset business Christopher Patrick had the following to say about the company's flagship chipset: Snapdragon is synonymous with premium Android experiences. Our latest flagship Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G Mobile Platform will help deliver the premium entertainment, connectivity, and gaming experiences users deserve. We’re excited to see OEMs launch with products based on our highest performing platform. The Hexagon 780 processor features a "fused architecture" which allows it to run multiple neural networks at once for a variety of use-cases. The chipset also sports a second-generation Qualcomm Sensing Hub which operates in an always-on status at a lower power for AI-assisted tasks. Given Qualcomm's ongoing investments in 5G, the chipset offers enhanced connectivity to the technology as well. On the imaging front, it offers the same Spectra 580 ISP which is capable of parallel processing with speeds up to 2.7 gigapixels per second, including support for 8K media encoding and decoding. Lastly, on the gaming side of the fence, it utilizes the Snapdragon Elite Gaming suite which offers 20% reduced touch latency, variable rate shading (VRS), and the ability to play games on 144Hz QHD displays. Importantly, drivers can now be updated without requiring a full OS update. Multiple companies including Asus, Honor, Vivo, Motorola, and Xiaomi have stated that their upcoming premium handsets will utilize the Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G. These devices are expected in the third quarter of 2021. Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G with support for 144Hz mobile gaming
  4. Details of Qualcomm SM8450, successor to Snapdragon 888, leaks A few months ago we heard, courtesy of Roland Quandt from WinFuture, that Qualcomm is working on a successor to the Snapdragon 888 (SM8350) code-named SM8450 ‘Waipio. At the time few details were available, but reliable leaker Evan Blass has now spilt all the beans, saying: SM8450 is Qualcomm’s next-gen premium system-on-chip (SoC). It has an integrated Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF system. It is fabricated on a 4nm process. Key components: * Kryo 780 CPU built on Arm Cortex v9 technology *Adreno 730 GPU * Spectra 680 ISP * Up to 1GHz mmWave downlink and 400MHz Sub-6 D * Support for Qualcomm Aqstic WCD9380/WCD9385 audio codec * Qualcomm secure processing unit (SPU260) * Support for Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 subsystem * Support for quad-channel package-on-package LPDDR5 RAM * Adreno 665 video processing unit (VPU) * Adreno 1195 display processing unit (DPU) Compared to the Snapdragon 888, the new SoC will have an upgraded 5G mode, the Snapdragon X65 which supports both mmWave or sub-6GHz 5G frequencies. The GPU is an upgrade from the Adreno 660 to the Adreno 730, which should be a substantial step up. The DSP is upgraded from the Spectra 580 to the Spectra 680 and the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 subsystem should enable Bluetooth LE Audio/5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E. Everything is built on a new 4 nm process, which normally means higher clock speeds and lower power consumption. Of course, it remains an open question of Qualcomm can catch up to Apple’s M1 chipset and its successors, but for those in the Android (and possible Windows 10 on ARM) ecosystem we can expect a good bump in speed soon. via XDA-Dev Details of Qualcomm SM8450, successor to Snapdragon 888, leaks
  5. Qualcomm introduces the Snapdragon 7c Gen2 for always-connected PCs Qualcomm has just announced the Snapdragon 7c Gen2, a new entry-level ARM chipset designed for PCs. You may recall that Qualcomm first introduced the Snapdragon 7c back in 2019, and it was the most affordable entry point into Windows on ARM devices, and it also eventually allowed Qualcomm to be in the Chromebook market. The Snapdragon 7c Gen2 is a minor refresh of the original chipset, similar to the upgraded Snapdragon 8cx Gen2. It comes with an upgraded clock speed up to 2.55GHz, up from the maximum 2.4GHz of the original chipset, and Qualcomm promises over 19 hours of battery life on a single charge, as well as 10% more performance over competing systems. These are some of the big advantages of ARM processors over most x86-based laptops in the same price range, but there's another one - always-on connectivity. PCs with the Snapdragon 7c Gen2 have a built-in 4G mode, the Snapdragon X15, meaning they can always have access to the internet, even when no Wi-Fi is in range, or if a Wi-Fi network is overloaded. Qualcomm is also touting AI performance with the fifth-generation Qualcomm AI Engine, though that isn't new. There's also support for cameras up to 32MP (which you're unlikely to find on a PC), 4K HDR video streaming, and more. It comes with "enterprise-grade security"as well, with the chipset being supported on Microsoft's Secured-Core PCs. PCs with the Snapdragon 7c Gen2 Compute Platform will be available this summer. This includes a new Snapdragon Developer Kit for Windows developers, which was also announced today. Source: Qualcomm introduces the Snapdragon 7c Gen2 for always-connected PCs
  6. Qualcomm vulnerability impacts nearly 40% of all mobile phones A high severity security vulnerability found in Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chips (including the latest 5G-capable versions) could enable attackers to access mobile phone users' text messages, call history, and listen in on their conversations. Qualcomm MSM is a series of 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G capable system on chips (SoCs) used in roughly 40% of mobile phones by multiple vendors, including Samsung, Google, LG, OnePlus, and Xiaomi. "If exploited, the vulnerability would have allowed an attacker to use Android OS itself as an entry point to inject malicious and invisible code into phones," according to Check Point researchers who found the vulnerability tracked as CVE-2020-11292. The security flaw could also enable attackers to unlock the subscriber identification module (SIM) used by mobile devices to store network authentication info and contact information securely. Exploitable by malware to evade detection To exploit CVE-2020-11292 and take control of the modem and dynamically patch it from the application processor, attackers have to abuse a heap overflow weakness in the Qualcomm MSM Interface (QMI) interface used by the company's cellular processors to interface with the software stack. Malicious apps could also use the vulnerability to hide their activity under cover of the modem chip itself, effectively making themselves invisible to security features used by Android to detect malicious activity. "We ultimately proved a dangerous vulnerability did in fact exist in these chips, revealing how an attacker could use the Android OS itself to inject malicious code into mobile phones, undetected," Yaniv Balmas, Check Point Head of Cyber Research, told BleepingComputer. "Going forward, our research can hopefully open the door for other security researchers to assist Qualcomm and other vendors to create better and more secure chips, helping us foster better online protection and security for everyone." Check Point disclosed their findings to Qualcomm in October, who later confirmed their research, rated the security bug as a high severity vulnerability and notified the relevant vendors. To protect themselves against malware exploiting this or similar security bugs, Check Point advises users to update their devices to the latest released OS versions that usually come with security updates. Additionally, only installing apps from official app stores should greatly minimize the risk of accidentally installing malicious applications. More technical details on the CVE-2020-11292 vulnerability are available in the report published by Check Point today. Security updates issued to OEMs in December After receiving Check Point's report, Qualcomm developed security updates to address the CVE-2020-11292 security issue and made them available to all impacted vendors two months later, in December 2020. "Providing technologies that support robust security and privacy is a priority for Qualcomm," a Qualcomm spokesperson told BleepingComputer. "We commend the security researchers from Check Point for using industry-standard coordinated disclosure practices. "Qualcomm Technologies has already made fixes available to OEMs in December 2020, and we encourage end-users to update their devices as patches become available." Given that Qualcomm sent CVE-2020-11292 patches to OEMs last year, Android users with newer devices still receiving system and security updates should all be protected against any attempts to compromise their up-to-date devices. Unfortunately, those who haven't switched to a new device with support for newer Android releases in the last couple of years might not be so lucky. Just to put things into perspective, roughly 19% of all Android devices are still running Android Pie 9.0 (released in August 2018) and over 9% Android 8.1 Oreo (released in December 2017), according to StatCounter data. Last year, Qualcomm fixed more vulnerabilities affecting the Snapdragon chip Digital Signal Processor (DSP) chip that allow attackers to take control of smartphones without user interaction, spy on their users, and create unremovable malware capable of evading detection. KrØØk, a security flaw that can be used to decrypt some WPA2-encrypted wireless network packets, was also fixed by Qualcomm in July 2020. Another bug that could allow access to critical data and two flaws in the Snapdragon SoC WLAN firmware allowing over the air compromise of the modem and the Android kernel were patched one year earlier, in 2019. Source: Qualcomm vulnerability impacts nearly 40% of all mobile phones
  7. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 780G chipset promises more flagship features for less Improved camera and connectivity features borrowed from the Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm has announced its latest 7-series processor, the Snapdragon 780G, which trickles down features from the company’s flagship Snapdragon 888 chipset, while still offering manufacturers (and, by extension, consumers) a more affordable phone. The 780G takes the new top slot in the 7-series lineup, replacing the 765G / 768G (the latter being largely a frequency-boosted version of the former). Obviously, there’s the usual boost in performance: the 780G features Qualcomm’s Kryo 670 CPU, which the company says offers a 40 percent boost in performance, and a new Adreno 642 GPU for up to 50 percent faster graphics compared to the 765 model. But the 780G also enables some new functionality, like the Spectra 570 triple ISP (image signal processor), which, like the Snapdragon 888, allows for phones to capture three simultaneous photo or video feeds at the same time. And like the Snapdragon 888, the Snapdragon 780G features Qualcomm’s sixth-generation AI engine running on a new Hexagon 770 processor, which can perform 12 trillion operations per second (TOPS) — twice that of its predecessor, even if it still pales in comparison to the 26 TOPS that the Snapdragon 888 offers. It also features the second-gen Sensing Hub that Qualcomm debuted on its flagship chipset. Lastly, the 780G has improved connectivity features, with an integrated Snapdragon X53 5G modem that promises up to 3.3Gbps speeds on Sub-6 GHz 5G networks. And like its pricier sibling, the 780G adds support for Wi-Fi 6E, meaning phones with the new chip will be able to take advantage of the fastest Wi-Fi speeds around as well as Bluetooth 5.2. The first phones with the Snapdragon 780G are expected to release in the second quarter of 2021. Source: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 780G chipset promises more flagship features for less
  8. Qualcomm Completes Acquisition of NUVIA: Immediate focus on Laptops Today Qualcomm is announcing that the company has completed the acquisition of NUVIA, a start-up company consisting of industry veterans who were behind the creation of Apple’s high-performance CPU cores, and who were aiming to disrupt the server market with a new high-performance core called “Phoenix”. The acquisition had been announced only several weeks ago in mid-January, so the whole process has been extremely speedy in terms of timeline. “Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has completed its acquisition of the world-class CPU and technology design company, NUVIA for $1.4 billion before working capital and other adjustments.” Today Qualcomm even went as far as put out a concrete roadmap for new SoCs using the newly acquired IP from Nuvia: “The first Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms to feature Qualcomm’s new internally designed CPUs are expected to sample in the second half of 2022 and will be designed for high performance ultraportable laptops. “ Sampling in late 2022 would require a tape-out in early 2022, and a design-in essentially as soon as possible following the acquisition today. The whole process seems extremely fast and aggressive in terms of timing, pointing out that Qualcomm is putting a lot of emphasis on the project. Qualcomm had shown a lot of positive reaction to Apple M1, I quote our interview with Alex Katouzian from back in December in terms of their reaction to the competitor design: “[…] the laptops these days are really moving towards mobile. The camera is super important. The audio is super important. The battery life is super important. Not having a fan is super important. Portability, thinness, connectivity, always-on always-connected, all those traits of mobile are moving to the PC. And people say, imitation is the best form of flattery. Look at look what happened with the [Apple] M1. Their product pitch is almost a duplicate of what we've been saying for the past two or three years.” NUVIA’s prompt acquisition and immediate disclosure of plans to tackle the high-performance ultraportable laptop market could be seen as Qualcomm’s direct response to the new Apple M1 powered laptops and to compete with their high-performance CPU cores. Article Update: We had the opportunity to have a call with Qualcomm’s Keith Kressin, SVP and GM, Edge Cloud and Computing, answering several questions as for company’s current plans for the NUVIA team. Qualcomm views the acquisition as an important strategic addition to the company’s design capabilities, filling a gap in IP design where the company for several years now had been relying on external IP such as Arm’s Cortex cores. Keith made important note of this ability to have total in-house design control over every IP block in an SoC, allowing the company better flexibility to respond to market demands and creating competitive products. The immediate goals for the NUVIA team will be implementing custom CPU cores into laptop-class Snapdragon SoCs running Windows, and enable the company to offer higher performance CPUs than would have been otherwise possible. When asked about plans for other product stacks and the possibility of using both in-house CPUs as well as continuing to use Arm Cortex CPU IP for lower segments, it was stated that Qualcomm will continue to evaluate every metric and choose the best fitting design that makes the most sense for that product category. We asked the team if Qualcomm would continue to invest into NUVIA’s original plans to enter the server and enterprise market, with a response that this wasn’t the main goal or motivation of the acquisition, that Qualcomm however would very much keep that as an open option for the future, and let the NUVIA team explore those possibilities. Keith here acknowledged that it’s tough market to crack, and that Qualcomm had made no definitive decisions yet in terms of long-term planning. Source: Qualcomm Completes Acquisition of NUVIA: Immediate focus on Laptops
  9. Qualcomm is working on a new Snapdragon 7c chipset for mid-range PCs Last week, a report from WinFuture claimed Qualcomm is working on a newer and more powerful chipset for PCs, one that’s likely an update to the second-gen Snapdragon 8cx. Now, new information says that might not be the only new PC chipset that the company is working on. If a new report from WinFuture is true, then Qualcomm is also working on a new octa-core processor that will be launched under the Snapdragon 7 series, which will also be made specifically for laptops and 2-in-1 PCs. This one is expected to be a successor to the Snapdragon 7c, which means it will most likely end up in Chromebooks and Windows 10 on ARM laptops. The newly leaked chip has an internal model number SC7295 and is reportedly similar to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 series chipset for smartphones, specifically the upcoming Snapdragon SM7350. This is expected to launch as the upcoming Snapdragon 775 on an upcoming Xiaomi device. The clock rates and core architecture on the SC7295 suggest that this chipset could end-up in PCs. According to the developer tests cited by WinFuture, the new chipset features a maximum clock speed of 2.7GHz. Notably, these speeds are only achievable by one of the four “Gold” cores, while the other high-end cores run at a maximum speed of 2.4GHz. The other four cores are expected to be power-saving cores that will have simpler and lighter tasks offloaded to them, and these have a maximum clock speed of 1.8Ghz. Take all of the above information with a pinch of salt as there is no confirmation on when or if this chipset will make its way to a PC near you. Qualcomm is also said to be working on a more powerful chipset for PCs that could come without power-saving cores and instead include two clusters of high-performance cores clocked at different speeds. The Snapdragon SC8280XP, one of the two variants being tested, allegedly has four high-end “Gold +” cores clocked at 2.7GHz paired with four more high-end “Gold” cores clocked at 2.43Ghz. Source: Qualcomm is working on a new Snapdragon 7c chipset for mid-range PCs
  10. New Qualcomm Snapdragon laptop chip leaks — here’s how it will take on Apple M1 Rumors about the next version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx processor have surfaced, and it sounds pretty powerful (Image credit: Qualcomm) It’s been a busy few months for laptop chips, with Apple releasing machines powered by its own M1 processors and Microsoft reportedly looking at making chips of its own. But long before other companies started dabbling in processors, Qualcomm had brought its chip-making skills to notebooks, with an eye toward making the components to power always-connected laptops. Now rumors are picking up that Qualcomm is working on the next version of its Snapdragon 8cx chipset for laptops. And this generation could feature two unique variants of this chip, aimed at boosting processing power. That’s the word according to WinFuture which reports that these still-unannounced Snapdragon 8cx chips would rely on ARM-based tech and offer varying levels of performance without energy-saving cores. The idea with this update would be to remove any specific power restraints in a bid to go for raw, all-out power. Of the two chipsets, WinFuture reports that the punchier of the two will come featuring four high-end cores clocked at 2.43GHz in addition to four so-called Gold+ series cores that reach 2.7GH, though some versions also allegedly include 3GHz clocks as well. This premium performance angle will likely find Qualcomm looking to bring its tech to higher-end laptops and ultrabooks. There are additional versions of the chipsets said to include RAM configurations with 32GB and support displays up to 14 inches. There are few additional details on other specs pertaining to the potential processor upgrades. But the most interesting development by far is the news that Qualcomm would think to drop the low power cores from the 8cx successor. Qualcomm has yet to comment on the situation, and there are no official announcements on the matter. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 debuted last fall, and it’s since found its way into a variety of laptops, including the HP Elite Folio and Acer Spin 7. Previous versions of the 8cx powered the world’s first 5G-connected laptop, the Lenovo Flex 5G. If WinFuture’s reports come to pass, the next iteration of Qualcomm’s 8cx chipset will be powerful indeed. It’s unclear from the report just when those chips will surface, let alone which machines will feature them. Source: New Qualcomm Snapdragon laptop chip leaks — here’s how it will take on Apple M1
  11. Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c performance analysis shows impressive results over competition There's a new performance analysis out that focuses on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7c chipset, and it shows some interesting results. The tests were carried out by HOTTECH, and they put the Snapdragon 7c against competing products from Intel and MediaTek, all running Chrome OS. Interestingly, AMD wasn't represented in this test, which is a shame. Five Chromebooks were used, including the following: Snapdragon 7c Reference Platform (Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage) Snapdragon 7c Education Reference Design (Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c, 4 GB RAM, 32 GB storage) Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (Intel Celeron N4020, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage) Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (MediaTek MT8183, 4 GB RAM, 32 GB storage) HP Chromebook x360 (Intel Pentium Silver N5030, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage) They were all tested using Octane v2, Speedometer v2, JetStream v1.1, Geekbench v5.3, GFXBench, and battery life was tested by using Zoom. Note that while the former three are web-based benchmarks, Geekbench and GFXBench were running mobile versions that came from the Google Play Store. First up is Google Octane, where both Snapdragon 7c devices had a solid lead over competition. The Snapdragon 7c Reference Platform scored 22,486 and the educational unit scored 22,203. The Chromebook x360 wth Intel Pentium Silver wasn't far behind at 21,169, and then the Celeron-powered unit scored 17,719, and the MediaTek processor came in last at 9,882. JetStream and Speedometer had different results though, where in both cases, the Intel Pentium Silver N5030-powered HP Chromebook x360 came out on top, coming in at 108.47 and 61, respectively. For JetStream, the Snapdragon 7c Education Reference Design got 103.93, the Snapdragon 7c unit got 103.78, the Celeron-powered Chromebook Spin 311 got 94.46, and the MediaTek-powered one got 52.34. For Speedometer, second place went to the Celeron with 55.4, and then the Snapdragon 7c Education unit got 49.7, the Snapdragon 7c unit for 48.4, and the MediaTek device for 27.9. Geekbench and GFXBench are where the Snapdragon 7c really shines. On Geekbench, the Snapdragon 7c Reference Design comes in first place for both single- and multi-core, coming in at 594 and 1,654, respectively. The education unit got 592 and 1,606. After that, the order is Pentium, Celeron, and MediaTek, as you'd expect. The report actually says that using the MediaTek was a chore. The Snapdragon 7c beat the Pentium Silver by 14.8%, and it beat the Celeron by 24.3%. In one GFXBench test, the Snapdragon 7c unit comes out on top, while in the other, the education one does. These two devices, unsurprisingly, are so close that the difference is trivial in every test. It's not surprising, since they have the same chipset, but it's good to see since the education unit has half the memory. The battery test is another area where the Snapdragon 7c shines. The Snapdragon 7c Education unit had the best battery life with 665 minutes, while the 7c unit got 585 minutes. This was the only test where MediaTek didn't come in dead last, as it was in third with 511 minutes. Then of course, we have the two Intel chips. It's worth noting that this was also broken down by minutes per Wh, and the results were the same. That's about it, and you should definitely check out the full report for a deep dive, including the procedures that were used and detailed specs of each of the devices. Of course, it would have been nice to see AMD represented here, and for MediaTek's chip, perhaps the company would have done better if the Helio P60T that's in Lenovo's Chromebook Duet were used. Either way, the Snapdragon 7c looks promising at its price point. Compared to Intel chips, it allows for fanless designs, integrated cellular modems, and more. Source: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c performance analysis shows impressive results over competition
  12. Leaked Qualcomm Snapdragon 775 and Snapdragon 775G specifications showcase similarities with the Snapdragon 888 The Snapdragon 775G may arrive later this year with a 5 nm process and Kryo 6xx CPU cores. (Image source: Qualcomm - edited) According to a comprehensive leak, Qualcomm has built the Snapdragon 775 and Snapdragon 775G on a 5 nm process. The duo should receive Kryo 6xx CPU cores too, along with support for up to LPDDR5-3200 RAM. Both chipsets may be compatible with 120 Hz displays, too. Almost six months have passed since Roland Quandt published information about the Snapdragon 775G, during which Qualcomm has released the Snapdragon 888. According to Quandt, Qualcomm had been testing the Snapdragon 775G with 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 256 GB of UFS 3.1 flash storage and a 120 Hz display. In a preceding tweet, Quandt added that Qualcomm had codenamed the Snapdragon 775G 'Cedros' and had assigned it the model number SM7350. Subsequently, Digital Chat Station asserted that the Snapdragon 775G could almost match the Snapdragon 865 for performance in AnTuTu. Now, Xiaomi & MIUI News claims to have received high-level documentation about Qualcomm's next upper-midrange SoC. While the Telegram channel did not provide a source for the information published, Mishaal Rahman and XDA Developers claim that their source has validated the documents shown below. According to the documents, Qualcomm has based the Snapdragon 775G on a 5 nm process, not a 6 nm one as was previously expected. Additionally, the Snapdragon 775G is expected to receive a Kryo 6xx CPU, although probably not the Kryo 680 CPU that the Snapdragon 888 has. However, the Snapdragon 775G will support up to LPDDR5-3200 RAM, as the Snapdragon 888 does. An Adreno 6xx GPU should be on board too, but this should come as no surprise since the Snapdragon 765G has an Adreno 620 and the Snapdragon 888 an Adreno 660. Camera details can be found below too, including that the 5 nm chipset will have a Spectra 570 Image Signal Processor (ISP). By contrast, the Snapdragon 888 has a Spectra 580 and the Snapdragon 765G a Spectra 365. Hence, it would seem likely that the Snapdragon 775G's ISP will be closer in performance to that of the Snapdragon 888 than the Snapdragon 765G. It is unclear when Qualcomm will announce the Snapdragon 775G, nor the Snapdragon 775 for that matter. We would not be surprised if the SoC made its way into many midrange handsets this year though, including the Pixel 5a or a future Nokia smartphone. Regardless, we could see a lot more midrange smartphones this year with high-refresh-rate displays, which would be welcome. Purchase the Google Pixel 5 on Amazon Source(s) Xiaomi & MIUI News via @MishaalRahman & XDA Developers Source: Leaked Qualcomm Snapdragon 775 and Snapdragon 775G specifications showcase similarities with the Snapdragon 888
  13. Qualcomm launches the Snapdragon Insider Program Today, Qualcomm is announcing the Snapdragon Insider Program, and everyone is invited. It's aimed at Snapdragon enthusiasts, and it's going to give them behind the scenes looks at the products, deep dives, unique experiences, extra perks, and more. As these things tend to be, it's all about forming a community of like-minded individuals. Qualcomm can take that collective enthusiasm and cultivate it into a base of advocates for its brand. In return, those advocates get access to the juicy details about the product that they adore. Qualcomm has long been a company that loves to share the geekier side of its wares. Every year in December, it holds Snapdragon Technology Summit, and it's got the 'Technology' in the name because it's meant to get technical. Journalists and influencers attend the event so they can get deep dives on the various new flagship products. Now, everyone can join in on the fun by signing up for the Snapdragon Insider Program. Along with getting access to the fun technical details, Snapdragon Insiders will be able to give feedback. They can share ideas, and they can help to inspire the next generation of the product. To be a Snapdragon Insider, you can follow @Snapdragon on Twitter, or you can sign up on the website. Qualcomm launches the Snapdragon Insider Program
  14. Sophos and Qualcomm want to secure the new generation of 5G PCs Sophos' endpoint protection is coming to 5G PCs powered by Qualcomm (Image credit: Qualcomm) Sophos has announced that it will provide its Intercept X endpoint protection software for 5G PCs powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon compute platforms. Qualcomm's Snapdragon compute platforms build on smartphone technology to deliver improved performance and efficiency to 4G and 5G equipped business laptops. Through deep learning AI and anti-ransomware capabilities, Sophos Intercept X protects advanced computing systems and endpoints and the company expects its software for Snapdragon compute platforms to be available during the second half of this year. Chief Technology Officer at Sophos, Joe Levy explained in a press release how Snapdragon compute platforms provide the performance of a PC along with the benefits of mobile computing devices, saying: “An always on, always connected, interactive computing environment that combines smartphone and PC technology delivers unique security capabilities and opportunities. Mobile devices historically have experienced far fewer security incidents than PCs powered by traditional architectures. It’s certainly not because they aren’t ubiquitous, but rather because of their modern architecture that offers overall predictability relative to PCs, enabling application vendors to design high-performance and secure software. Snapdragon compute platforms mark a major step forward because they provide all the utility and performance of a PC, but with many of the benefits associated with modern mobile computing devices. Security loves predictability, and Sophos is excited to be a part of securing this next-generation computing platform.” Securing 5G PCs Sophos Intercept X will also be able to leverage Connected Standby for continuous communication with a fleet of Snapdragon powered PCs. This helps make the work of security teams easier as their investigations will not be impeded by unknowns as data won't be missed due to devices being offline. The cybersecurity company's endpoint protection software will even use AI acceleration through the Qualcomm AI Engine to compile AI-dependent software in real-time on devices with optimizations to run faster and more power efficiently. At the same time though, Intercept X will be able to harness hardware-level root of trust to ascertain device and cryptographic integrity. Senior Director of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, Migue Nunes praised the company's partnership with Sophos and explained how it will improve security across the board for 5G PCs, saying: “Now, in addition to enabling always on, always connected PC experiences, our 5G-enabled Snapdragon compute platforms bring next-generation security innovation rooted in our advanced AI and 5G connectivity capabilities. By working with Sophos, we are taking on-device security to a new level by enhancing their industry-leading endpoint protection with AI accelerated threat detection on our solutions. We’re excited for Sophos to transform computing with next-generation enterprise-grade security on 5G powered Snapdragon compute platforms.” Sophos and Qualcomm want to secure the new generation of 5G PCs
  15. Qualcomm objects to Nvidia’s $40 billion Arm acquisition KEY POINTS Qualcomm has told regulators around the world that it is against Nvidia’s $40 billion acquisition of British chip designer Arm, according to sources familiar with the matter. The company has told the Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority and China’s State Administration for Market Regulation that it has concerns about the deal. The FTC’s investigation has moved to a “second phase” and the U.S. regulator has asked SoftBank, Nvidia and Arm to provide it with more information. The front of Qualcomm office in San Jose, California. Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News | Getty Images U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm has told regulators around the world that it is against Nvidia’s $40 billion acquisition of British chip designer Arm, according to sources familiar with the matter. The company has told the Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority and China’s State Administration for Market Regulation that it has concerns about Nvidia buying Arm, which is currently owned by Japanese tech giant SoftBank. The FTC’s investigation has moved to a “second phase” and the U.S. regulator has asked SoftBank, Nvidia and Arm to provide it with more information, according to two sources who are familiar with the deal but wished to remain anonymous due to the private nature of the discussions. Complying with the information request is likely to take many months as several large documents will need to be produced, the sources said. During the second phase, the FTC will also engage with other companies who may have relevant information that could help it to make a decision, they added. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, and the CMA declined to comment, while the FTC and the SAMR did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment. Qualcomm, which declined to comment on this story, contacted the regulators because it thinks they will play a significant role in determining whether the deal gets completed or not, according to the sources. It has spoken to representatives who focus on antitrust law and mergers. Nvidia told CNBC it is confident regulators will see the benefits of the acquisition. Arm declined to comment and SoftBank did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment. “You’re looking at a very thorough, a very painful, and a very long investigation,” one of the sources told CNBC. The Arm wrestle Arm was spun out of an early computing company called Acorn Computers in 1990. The company’s energy-efficient chip architectures are used in 95% of the world’s smartphones and 95% of the chips designed in China. The company licenses its chip designs to more than 500 companies who use them to make their own chips. Qualcomm has opposed the Nvidia takeover because it thinks there’s a very high risk that Nvidia could become a gatekeeper of Arm’s technology and prevent other chipmakers from using Arm’s intellectual property, according to sources. It doesn’t think Nvidia will be able to fully capitalize on the acquisition without crossing certain lines that people are worried about, they said. When announcing the acquisition, Nvidia and Arm said the deal will create the world’s “premier computing company for the age of AI.” The duo have pledged to keep Arm headquartered in Cambridge, U.K., and invest heavily in the business. “This combination has tremendous benefits for both companies, our customers, and the industry,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang when the deal was announced. Source: Qualcomm objects to Nvidia’s $40 billion Arm acquisition
  16. Qualcomm reclaims the clock speed title with the Snapdragon 870 5G chipset and its 3.2 GHz CPU Old is gold – Qualcomm and TSMC figured out how to squeeze a bit extra performance out of the 7 nm node and created the Snapdragon 865++. Or as the company prefers to call it, the Snapdragon 870 (SM8250-AC). Its CPU reaches the highest clock speed in the mobile world – the prime core now runs at 3.2 GHz, up from 3.1 GHz on the 865+ and 2.94 GHz on the vanilla 865. Those two were surpassed by the Kirin 9000 and its 3.13 GHz prime core, but now Qualcomm has reclaimed the clock speed crown. The Snapdragon 870 still uses Kryo 585 cores, which are based on ARM’s Cortex-A77 with some in-house tweaks. The Snapdragon 888 CPU is based on the newer Cortex-X1 and A78 instead, so while it runs at lower frequencies (2.84 GHz for the X1), there’s more to the performance story. We’ll have to wait for the first benchmarks to see how all these chips compare, though. The Adreno 650 GPU makes a comeback, but it’s not clear if it received a clock boost of its own and, if not, whether it’s running at the 865 frequency (587 MHz) or 865+ (670 MHz). The Hexagon 698 and the Tensor Accelerator deliver the same 15 TOPS as the two 865 chips so that definitely did not get a boost. The display driver can run 1440p class panels at up to 144Hz (or 4K at 60 Hz) and supports HDR10+ (Rec. 2020 color gamut). The Spectra 480 ISP is unchanged as well, with support for sensors up to 200 MP, 8K video capture at 30 fps (and 4K at 120 fps), high dynamic range videos using the HDR10+ and Dolby Vision standards. Similarly, the FastConnect 6800 system appears to be the same. It supports Wi-Fi 6 (up to 1.77 Gbps) and Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX Voice and Adaptive. Note that the 865+ used the slightly upgraded FastConnect 69000, which offered Wi-Fi 6E. There’s no onboard 5G modem, instead the chipset will be paired with an external Snapdragon X55 with sub-6 and mmWave support (up to 7.5 Gbps downlink speeds). The Snapdragon 870 will be used in phones by Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi and iQOO. Motorola says it will launch its phone “soon”, but there are no exact dates for any of the upcoming devices. The companies did give a few hints what kind of phones they are working on, though. All of them will highlight 5G, of course, but Xiaomi specifically mentioned cameras, while iQOO is making a gaming phone. Exynos 1080 Snapdragon 865+ Snapdragon 870 Snapdragon 888 Kirin 9000 Process Samsung 5 nm EUV TSMC 7 nm TSMC 7 nm Samsung 5 nm EUV TSMC 5 nm EUV CPU (prime) 1x Cortex-A78 @ 2.8 GHz 1x Cortex-A77 @ 3.1 GHz 1x Cortex-A77 @ 3.2 GHz 1x Cortex-X1 @ 2.84 GHz 1x Cortex-A77 @ 3.13 GHz CPU (big) 3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.6 GHz 3x Cortex-A77 @ 2.42 GHz 3x Cortex-A77 3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.42 GHz 3x Cortex-A77 @ 2.54 GHz CPU (little) 4x Cortex-A55 @ 2.0 GHz 4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.8 GHz 4x Cortex-A55 4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.8 GHz 4x Cortex-A55 @ 2.05 GHz GPU Mali-G78 MP10 Adreno 650 (670 MHz) Adreno 650 Adreno 660 Mali-G78 MP24 NPU 5.7 TOPS 15 TOPS 15 TOPS 26 TOPS ? 5G modem 3.67 Gbps (mmWave), 5.1 Gbps (sub-6) 7.5 Gbps (mmWave)sub-6 7.5 Gbps (mmWave), sub-6) 7.5 Gbps (mmWave), sub-6 6.5 Gbps (mmWave), 4.6 Gbps (sub-6) Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz) Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6E (6 GHz) Wi-Fi 6 Source: Qualcomm reclaims the clock speed title with the Snapdragon 870 5G chipset and its 3.2 GHz CPU
  17. Qualcomm's answer to Apple's M1 could be the SC8280 Ever since Apple introduced its first ARM-based Macs in November, people have been wondering when Qualcomm and Microsoft are going to introduce something more competitive on the Windows side of things. After all, Apple's M1 chips beat the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 in a big way, and the chipset was only announced in September. Being that Gen 2 was such a minor refresh, some thought that Qualcomm might have something else on the way. According to WinFuture, it just might. Citing 'information available to us', Qualcomm is working on something codenamed SC8280, although it will obviously be called something else if and when it comes to market. Test systems have a 14-inch display and 32GB LPDDR5 memory, and apparently, there will be two versions of the chipset. One will be the base model, while the other will be more powerful. It also comes with a Snapdragon X55 5G modem, which will likely be integrated into the chipset this time around. Also, the size of the chipset is biggest at 20x17mm, an increase from 20x15mm. The report speculates that this could mean more cores. If the aim is to compete with Apple, Qualcomm always has an uphill battle to fight. Apple designs its own ARM processors from the ground up, while Qualcomm licenses the architecture. The new Cortex-X1 core is meant to be more customizable, so hopefully, that can help. The Snapdragon 8cx was the firm's first attempt at creating a PC chip, rather than repurposing a smartphone chip, and Gen 2 is really just an overclocked Snapdragon 8cx. If the firm is planning to go big with Gen 3, another redesign could make a big difference. On top of that, Microsoft is going to be offering x64 emulation on Windows on ARM PCs later on this year. Right now, ARM PCs can only run native apps and emulated 32-bit apps. Adding x64 support opens up Windows on ARM to the rest of the ecosystem, and Microsoft and Qualcomm might want some hero hardware to unveil when the feature launches. Qualcomm's answer to Apple's M1 could be the SC8280
  18. Qualcomm just snapped up Apple’s chief architect and his CPU startup Qualcomm has announced a $1.4 billion deal to acquire chip design firm Nuvia. The fledgling company was founded by Apple executive Gerard Williams III. He is the long-time chief architect behind a variety of Apple CPUs and chipsets. Qualcomm is the top dog in the Android phone space right now, but it faces stiff competition in the general smartphone space and computing space thanks to players like Apple. Now, the US chipmaker has announced a $1.4 billion deal to acquire fledgling silicon design firm Nuvia. Nuvia was founded back in 2019 by former Apple silicon executive Gerard Williams III, along with Manu Gulati and John Bruno. Williams was the chief architect behind several major Apple CPUs and chipsets from 2010 to 2019. More specifically, Williams’ LinkedIn profile notes that he was behind the Cyclone, Typhoon, Twister, Hurricane, Monsoon, Vortex, Lightning and Firestorm CPUs. These CPUs were featured in the Apple A7, A8, A9, A10, A11, A12 series, A13, and A14 respectively. The Nuvia founder’s profile also notes that he was the chief architect for Apple’s Mac hardware. Going back even futher, the Nuvia co-founder worked at Arm from 1998 to 2010, working on CPU tech like the Arm Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A15 CPU cores. Credit: LinkedIn/Gerard Williams III In announcing the deal, Qualcomm said that Nuvia has industry-leading expertise in “high performance processors, Systems on a Chip and power management for compute-intensive devices and applications.” So how will Qualcomm use the new firm’s know-how? “Nuvia CPUs are expected to be integrated across Qualcomm Technologies’ broad portfolio of products, powering flagship smartphones, next-generation laptops, and digital cockpits, as well as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, extended reality and infrastructure networking solutions,” the San Diego firm explained. In other words, it sounds like we can expect future Qualcomm smartphone processors to swap out Arm’s Cortex CPUs in favor of (newly) in-house solutions. This would mark the first time since 2016’s Snapdragon 820 that it used custom CPU designs. But the big difference between now and then of course, is that Qualcomm didn’t have Apple’s chief silicon designer working for it. It’s also worth noting that Qualcomm says Nuvia CPUs will be found inside next-generation laptops, suggesting that future Windows on Arm laptops will gain a major performance boost. And it’s just in time too, as Apple makes waves with its M1-powered Mac computers. We’ve contacted Qualcomm to find out more about its intentions with Nuvia and will update the article when they get back to us. Do you think this deal will help Qualcomm to beat Apple? Give us your thoughts in the comments! Source: Qualcomm just snapped up Apple’s chief architect and his CPU startup
  19. Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 will debut in early 2021 phones A couple of years ago, just before 2018 ended, Qualcomm introduced the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor. It’s an in-display fingerprint scanning technology that has been used on numerous smartphones out in the market. It’s only one of the many technologies by the company and it’s finally getting a follow-up. The second generation is available and is ready to offer “security that goes beyond screen deep”. The new Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor already offers reliable and fast fingerprint scanning. It’s effective even with wet fingers. The latest version has been improved greatly to deliver a significantly better user experience. Another improved version was released the following year. The company used a number of technological advances to achieve the goal. It takes advantages of ultrasonic waves (acoustics) to scan 3D features of an object or environment including pores, valleys, or ridges. Scanning these areas help in making image-scanning more accurate. With this technology, the enhanced Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor is able to scan fingerprints even through solid surfaces. It can scan through metal or glass even if the finger is wet. Another improvement is the thinness of the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor. It is now very thin at only .2mm. The ultra-thin sensor can allow phone makers to come up with real bezel-less, flexible OLED displays. This means more edge-to-edge displays on phones will be implemented. Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor New Version It can be assumed premium flagship smartphones from top OEMs will use the new Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensors that are 77% larger and 50% faster that the first-gen sensors (4x9mm) at 8x8mm. The second-gen will also be ready in different sizes so more OEMs will be able to utilize the technology. Samsung has used the original technology on its flagship devices like the Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 10, and last year’s Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20. The Galaxy S10 experienced a few bugs though but a software update squashed them. We can expect future devices from the South Korean tech giant and other mobile brands will use the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2. Some phones launching this early 2021 will already use the new tech starting with the Galaxy 21 series. The latter has been said to use a fingerprint sensor that is faster to unlock. Source: Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 will debut in early 2021 phones
  20. Qualcomm announces its first Snapdragon 4 series 5G chipset Today, Qualcomm is introducing the Snapdragon 480 5G platform, and the major significance is that it's the firm's first entry-level 5G chipset. While you can get a Snapdragon 690 handset for under $300, these smartphones will be in the $125-$250 tier. Indeed, a $125 5G smartphone is unheard of in the current market. "Qualcomm Technologies continues to accelerate 5G commercialization globally to make 5G smartphones more accessible, especially as people worldwide continue to connect remotely," said Kedar Kondap, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "The Snapdragon 480 5G Mobile Platform will exceed OEM’s and consumer’s expectations in delivering high- and mid-tier features at an affordable price." The Snapdragon 480 5G mobile platform comes with a Snapdragon X51 5G Modem-RF System, supporting both sub6 and mmWave frequencies. It also supports both standalone and non-standalone 5G, DSS, and more for up to multi-gigabit speeds. It has FastConnect 6200 for 2x2 Wi-Fi, coupled with Bluetooth 5.1 as well. Aside from the connectivity features, it has eight Kryo 460 cores that are based on an 8nm process and clocked at up to 2GHz. That comes with an Adreno 619 GPU, and a Hexagon 686 processor for 70% improved AI performance. It comes with the Spectra 345 ISP, promising the first triple ISP in the 4 series so users can capture photos from up to three 13MP lenses at the same time, or they can capture up to three 720p videos at the same time. The chipset also includes support for 120fps FHD+ screens, and for Quick Charge 4+, something that's brand-new to the Snapdragon 4 series. Partners that are promising to be on-board with the Snapdragon 480 include HMD Global with its Nokia phones, Oppo, and Vivo. Devices are expected to be announced in early 2021. Qualcomm announces its first Snapdragon 4 series 5G chipset
  21. Qualcomm promises three years of Android updates for its entire SoC lineup The new plan is three years of major OS updates and four years of security updates. Enlarge / The Snapdragon 888, sitting on the world's biggest ARM motherboard. Qualcomm 142 with 96 posters participating Google and Qualcomm are teaming up to enable a longer support window for flagship Android smartphones. Qualcomm, with Google's help, will now support its chipsets for three years of major OS updates and four years of security updates, enabling a better-than-Pixel level for all future Android phones, provided your OEM is willing to cooperate. This policy is starting with the flagship Snapdragon 888, but even lower-end chips will be supported. Qualcomm PR tells us "the plan is to roll this out to all Snapdragon chipsets, including lower-tier ones, but starting with the new Snapdragon 888 platform." Part of the challenge of Android updates is the continuous chain of software custody that has to be maintained across several companies, from the Android repository to your phone. Google and Qualcomm now say they are willing to pass the update baton to OEMs for three major updates and four years of security updates, but OEMs will actually need to update their Android skins and ship working builds to each of their devices. If they don't, we at least know who to blame now. Qualcomm's and Google's blog posts both contain the same phrasing, that they will "support 4 Android OS versions and 4 years of security updates." Read that quote closely and you'll spot two different units of measurement happening there, which some people have misinterpreted. While there are four years of security updates, the two companies are counting the initial release of Android in their quote of "4 Android OS versions," so it's three years of major Android updates, not four years. We double-checked with Qualcomm and got back "Qualcomm will support the launch version + 3 OS upgrades, for a total of 4 major Android OS versions. Snapdragon 888 will support Android 11, 12, 13, and 14." This is the same update plan Pixels have gotten and what Samsung has promised, but with one more year of security updates. Keep in mind, Qualcomm is also bringing this level of support to low-end devices, so while this is only a baby step for flagship phones, lower-end phones could see greatly increased support windows. Treble trouble Google's blog post goes into detail about how it has made updating easier for SoC manufacturers like Qualcomm. Android's Project Treble re-architecture split the OS in half, separating the OS from the hardware with a modular interface. This makes it easy to run the same build of Android across multiple pieces of hardware (it's called a Generic System Image, or GSI). While that makes things easier if you're an OEM building an Android skin, Google was apparently heaping update requirements on SoC vendors. SoC vendors are partly responsible for the "vendor" implementation in Project Treble—the bottom half of OS split that contains the hardware support. While things above the Project Treble split (the software) were guaranteed backward compatibility, the hardware support was not. For each SoC, Qualcomm would need to maintain a vendor implementation for each software history permutation. That means one for phones that launched with Android 10, another for Android 11, and a third for devices that launched with Android 10 and were upgraded to Android 11. This system did not scale well. Today, Google is vaguely announcing changes to Project Treble that will let Qualcomm support new and upgrading devices with a single vendor implementation. It has also (again, vaguely) cooked up some kind of scheme to let Qualcomm use the same vendor implementation across multiple SoCs, which will cut down on its update work even more. Faster updates are slowly happening Google is also taking this time to update us on the state of the Android update situation. Android 11 is ever so slightly seeing the fastest adoption rate ever and is outpacing the previous release (previously the fastest ever), at least in terms of raw users (I doubt the percentage would be much different since I doubt the total number of active Android users has changed in a year.) Thanks to Project Treble, the Android 10 chart turned into a wicked hockey stick about 100 days after launch, and we're not at that stage yet with Android 11. Of course, this still doesn't bring Android in line with what Apple has been doing, which is five years of major OS updates and seven years of security updates for iPhones. Apple is the SoC vendor, the OS developer, and the device manufacturer though, so it has fewer logistics to work out, and it doesn't have to deal with preserving profit margins in each step of the process. Every Android update announcement feels like one small step toward making the situation better, and nothing will be a silver bullet aside from blowing up the whole system. Just about every sentence in this article could end with the caveat of "if your OEM wants to cooperate," and for many, that last link in the update chain will be the critical one. If your OEM doesn't want to play ball, well, you know what to do, right? Vote with your wallet! Qualcomm promises three years of Android updates for its entire SoC lineup
  22. Qualcomm's new wireless earbud chipset promises premium features for more price tiers Qualcomm is introducing a new product in its lineup of mid-range wireless earbud chipsets, the QCC305x series. These SoCs are low-power platforms designed to be used in true wireless earbuds, and they can, of course, enable certain features beyond just playing music. The QCC305x sits in the mid-range QCC30xx series, which Qualcomm had already expanded earlier this year with the QCC304x. Like its predecessors, the QCC305x series supports noise cancellation, but it brings some new premium features, like voice service support, meaning you can summon and interact with digital assistants like Google Assistant using only your voice. This feature was previously available on the QCC5141, or Apple H1-powered devices. Another new feature in this chipset is support for the new Bluetooth Low Energy Audio standard, which enables new capabilities like audio sharing, so multiple people can listen to music coming from the same source. Other features like broadcasting your audio to other devices are also enabled by Bluetooth LE Audio, which is debuting on the Snapdragon series with the Snapdragon 888 chipset. Of course, there are some Qualcomm-exclusive features like support for the company aptX Adaptive codec with audio resolution up to 96KHz for media consumption, and aptX voice and cVc Echo Cancellation to improve clarity in voice calls. Qualcomm didn't say when we can expect to see earbuds using this new chip, but it's likely they'll start to show up around the same time as Snapdragon 888-powered phones. Qualcomm's new wireless earbud chipset promises premium features for more price tiers
  23. Apple is full-steam ahead on replacing Qualcomm modems with its own SVP Johny Srouji told Apple employees that development kicked off this year. Enlarge / The iPhone 12. Samuel Axon 97 with 53 posters participating As rumored many months ago, Apple's silicon ambitions don't end with replacing Intel CPUs with its own in Macs—it plans to ditch Qualcomm modems in favor of its own custom-designed chips for iPhones, according to Apple hardware tech lead Johny Srouji. Srouji confirmed the company's plans when speaking to employees during an internal town hall meeting, as reported by Bloomberg today. Apple acquired Intel's 5G smartphone modem business last summer. That acquisition of Intel's intellectual property and resources was key for Apple's new efforts. Quoted in the Bloomberg story, Srouji told Apple employees: This year, we kicked off the development of our first internal cellular modem which will enable another key strategic transition... Long-term strategic investments like these are a critical part of enabling our products and making sure we have a rich pipeline of innovative technologies for our future. Apple introduced 5G modems for the first time this year in its iPhone 12 lineup, but the phones use modems made by Qualcomm. When Apple completes its work on its own modems, it is likely to drop the Qualcomm modems from most or all of its phones. Qualcomm shares fell in value after the Bloomberg report ran. However, the report notes that "a 2019 patent agreement between Apple and Qualcomm includes a six-year licensing pact," and that "Qualcomm charges license fees to phone makers based on wireless patents it owns, regardless of whether they use its chips or not." In any case, this news is a confirmation of suspicions long held by close observers of Apple. As if the Intel modem business acquisition wasn't a big enough clue, Apple was also in 2018 visibly and publicly ramping up its staff in an office in San Diego that is located close to Qualcomm's offices there. As we noted when we covered Apple's hiring sprees two years ago, the San Diego office appears all but designed to poach skilled engineers from Qualcomm and the smaller San Diego-based firms in its orbit to work on modem technologies. In 2019, Apple confirmed plans to open a second major San Diego campus. Further, Apple has been listing numerous opportunities related to modems on its jobs portal for a couple of years now. The report today says that Apple has people working on the new modems in San Diego, Cupertino, and Europe. It is unknown when Apple might add these new modems to its phones, but we can easily speculate as to what its priorities might be. Our iPhone 12 review (and the reviews at other publications) pointed out that the new iPhones take a dramatic hit to battery life when browsing in 5G. Apple may hope that it can produce more efficient alternatives that are more tightly integrated with the other technologies in its phones, in one possible focus. Apple is full-steam ahead on replacing Qualcomm modems with its own
  24. It's OK that Qualcomm didn't announce a new chip for Windows at Snapdragon Summit This year, Qualcomm's Snapdragon Technology Summit was held as a digital-only experience, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Journalists like myself would rather be in Maui right now, as it's all the more depressing to look at my "on this day" memories from the last few years. At this year's event, the firm introduced the Snapdragon 888, the chipset that will be included in next year's flagship Android phones. And that's it. There was no mention of Windows on ARM at all, and it's something that seems to have many bewildered. After all, Apple announced that it was transitioning its whole lineup to ARM earlier this year, and its custom M1 chip just hit the market in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini. According to early reviews, these new Macs are very good. Some users have even managed to install Windows on ARM on the new PCs, and benchmarks put Microsoft's own Surface Pro X to shame. With Apple's ARM success stories in the news, people were wondering how Qualcomm could simply ignore it, and why there was no PC chipset for Windows-based devices this year. Qualcomm isn't ignoring it Qualcomm isn't ignoring Apple's switch to ARM. In fact, it's said a few times that Apple's switch to ARM sort of legitimizes ARM PCs, reaffirming Qualcomm's idea that we don't need Intel to have a great PC experience. I do understand the sentiment. Qualcomm has talked about Windows on ARM at Snapdragon Summit for the last four years, just like it talked up mixed reality last year. And in case you're wondering, it's not giving up on mixed reality either. It's just a shorter conference this year since it's not being held in-person. Day one is always a high-level vision keynote, day two is a deep dive on Qualcomm's flagship product (the smartphone chipset), and day three is anything else it wants to show off. There's just no day three this year. Three months ago, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, its latest flagship PC chipset. It's a minor upgrade over the Snapdragon 8cx, only overclocking some components rather than using a new architecture. That's another thing that's concerning ARM enthusiasts. With Apple's powerful M1 being so good, they're wondering how Qualcomm can come back with a minor refresh. Here's the deal though. The reason it was such a minor refresh was because Qualcomm is trying to shorten the amount of time between when it announces a product, and when it ships in a PC. The original Snapdragon 8cx was announced in December 2018 (Snapdragon Summit two years ago), and we didn't see it in an actual shipping product until February 2020 when Samsung's Galaxy Book S shipped. That is, unless you count the modified Snapdragon 8cx in Microsoft's Surface Pro X, which shipped a few months earlier. To me, asking why there's no new flagship chipset being announced when there was a new one announced three months ago is an odd question to ask. As Qualcomm said this week, almost exhaustively, the number eight indicates that it's premium. The 'c' means compute, and the 'x' means extreme. There is nothing that will sit above the Snapdragon 8cx for PCs. Windows is a different market I recently reviewed Microsoft's latest Surface Pro X, and many commenters tried to compare it to Apple's new M1. Some asked why I hadn't mentioned the M1 in my review, and to be honest, the thought had never even crossed my mind. I don't think of the Surface Pro X and MacBook Air as similar products to where they should be compared in a review. But if you're of a mindset that Qualcomm needs to compete with Apple Silicon, that's not necessarily true. Apple made a top-down decision to transition its entire lineup to ARM. That means that we're going to see Apple Silicon iMacs and more. Qualcomm doesn't have the ability to make that type of decision for the Windows market. In fact, Microsoft doesn't even have that kind of power over its own market. Way too many Windows users rely on legacy components for a big switch like that to happen. No, for Qualcomm to gain any kind of dominance, it has to fight for every bit of market share it can in an effort to usurp Intel. Qualcomm's strategy thus far has been thin and light ultrabooks. The unique value proposition to ARM has been thinner, fanless devices that get better battery life and don't compromise on cellular connectivity. In 2016 at Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm announced Windows on ARM and the plan to emulate x86 apps. At 2017's conference, the first Windows on ARM PCs debuted. At 2018's conference, Qualcomm introduced the very first chipset that was designed from the ground up for PCs, the Snapdragon 8cx. Last year, it announced the Snapdragon 7c and Snapdragon 8c chipsets. These are meant to allow Qualcomm to expand its footprint into the budget segment. A Snapdragon 7c PC should cost just a few hundred dollars, and it can be fanless, have 4G LTE connectivity, and offer better battery life than competitors. This stuff is unheard of at that price point. With Intel-powered PCs, cellular connectivity is rare because it's an option, and it's an expensive option. So putting it in a PC that's worth a few hundred dollars doesn't happen. With the modem being integrated into the chipset, Qualcomm can offer a value proposition that can't be offered from Intel. You see, once you start to explore the Windows market and what Qualcomm is doing to gain market share, it becomes less and less about how the flagship product compares with Apple's M1. Qualcomm isn't doing desktops, at least for now Two years ago when the Snapdragon 8cx was announced, anything seemed possible. First-gen Windows on ARM PCs that had a Snapdragon 835 were terrible, and the Snapdragon 850 was a big improvement. The Snapdragon 8cx was the third generation, and given the big performance improvements from generation to generation, it was clear that Qualcomm was laser-focused on taking on Intel. One of the big questions on my mind was what Qualcomm was planning next, after its first "made for PCs" chipset (the previous ones were repurposed smartphone chipsets). I asked if we might see ARM chips for gaming laptops, or even for desktop PCs, and I got my answer: "Not in our wheelhouse." Qualcomm's focus remains on thin and light devices, where it can deliver value on battery life, connectivity, and the fanless design. None of those translate to desktop processors in any way at all. Thermals do matter when it comes to a desktop, but only because thermals affect the only thing that maters on a desktop: performance. Apple is going to make an ARM desktop processor. It promised to transition its entire lineup over two years, and in a decade, you can bet that macOS won't even support Intel processors anymore. The M1 is just the beginning for the Cupertino firm. If you think that's powerful, just wait until they announce the chip that will go into the iMac or Mac Pro. Don't expect Qualcomm to compete with this in the foreseeable future. The company is playing to its strengths right now, and trying to gain bits of the market in areas where it can. Again, things might be different if Microsoft could somehow make a top-down decision that all PCs going forward would have ARM64 processors, but it can't. Don't forget about Chrome OS About two and a half months ago, Acer announced the Chromebook Spin 513, a Chrome OS convertible that's powered by a Snapdragon 7c. Qualcomm's compute initiative is a few years old now, but this is the first time that any Snapdragon processor has shown up in a Chromebook. The point is, next time you think Qualcomm is ready to throw in the towel on compute because of something that's going on with Windows, and how it compares to macOS, don't forget about Chrome OS. As of a few months ago, that's part of compute too. And it seems as though the Snapdragon 7c and Chrome OS were made for each other. There have been plenty of ARM-powered Chromebooks in the past, so there aren't any compatibility issues, and Android apps run just fine on Snapdragon chips, obviously. Add cellular to the mix on a browser-based operating system, and it looks pretty good. Chrome OS is also a very light operating system, needing fewer resources than Windows or macOS. Comparing any silicon on a Chromebook to Apple's M1 on a MacBook is like comparing apples to, well, Apples. Qualcomm still needs to step it up The main purpose of this article is to point out a few facts that people seem to have forgotten. Qualcomm hasn't give up on compute, it will have a new, more powerful processor next year, and comparing Qualcomm's processors to Apple's M1 isn't completely fair. But I'm not apologizing for Qualcomm, because it does still need to step up its game. I wrote about this back in May, on the heels of yet another rumor that Apple was switching to ARM. I correctly predicted that Apple was going to transition its entire lineup, just just super thin and light devices. In the Windows world, ARM PCs are positioned almost like they're not real PCs. I remember when the first Windows on ARM PCs shipped; tablets like HP's Envy x2 also had an Intel variant. HP told me at the time that you get the Intel one if you want a PC-like experience, and you get the ARM one if you want an iPad-like experience. It's time to actually make a powerful chipset that can be positioned as such. Even Apple's iPad Pro tablets are now positioned as devices that you can easily edit video on. Qualcomm needs to think along those lines too. Looking back at my editorial from May though, I did say that Microsoft and Qualcomm will be able to learn from how Apple implements ARM, not that they would be prepared for it ahead of time. And I have no doubt that Qualcomm is taking notes not just on what Apple is doing, but on how the public is responding to it. It's OK that Qualcomm didn't announce a new chip for Windows at Snapdragon Summit
  25. The other Arm chip making giant thinks Apple Silicon is a validation of what it has been saying. The Snapdragon 888 With recent tests showing that putting Windows onto Apple Silicon absolutely spanks the performance currently available on Qualcomm-made processors, one could be forgiven for thinking Qualcomm was apprehensive about its future desktop prospects. However, Qualcomm SVP and general manager for mobile, compute, and infrastructure Alex Katouzian told journalists on Wednesday that the new chip was a validation for putting mobile chips into laptops. "As we've seen during the pandemic age and I think this is going to continue for many years to come, video conferencing and remote working locations are going to become more and more important which means you have to have the capability of great video conferencing, you have to have the camera capability, you have to have the longevity of the battery, you should be able to work from any place that you are, inside your house or outside your house, and reach your work environment in a secure fashion," he said. "All of those things are validation of what we've been preaching and I think the strength is going to come from the fact that our partnership with Microsoft is going to be much stronger and extended into the future. "I think many, many parties realise that the Windows-based ecosystem needs a boost like this, and we're the partner of choice to make that happen -- so, it's a great opportunity and a great validation for Qualcomm." Hours earlier, Qualcomm took the wraps off its new Snapdagon 888 chip, which will support 5G at millimetre-wave and sub-6GHz frequencies on "all major bands worldwide". It will also support carrier aggregation, standalone and non-standalone modes, and dynamic spectrum sharing. The company said it "completely re-engineered" its Hexagon processor that can now perform at 26 tera operations per second and updated its Sensing Hub to allow for lower-power, always-on AI processing. On the image front, the chip can capture photos and video at 2.7 gigapixels per second, a 35% boost on the prior generation. A notable absence among the list of Android phone makers that said they would use the 888 was Samsung. Those on the list included Asus, Lenovo, LG, Meizu, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE. Last month, it was reported the United States had granted approval to Qualcomm to sell 4G chips for mobile phones to Huawei. Speaking on Wednesday, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said the company was in the fortunate position of being able to "meet the objectives of both sides" of the trade war. "We look at ourselves as probably a company that provides a lot of stability ... in our sector of technology between the two countries, so I think if you look in the essence of our business model, we have a licensing business model. We don't need to transfer technology. We open license that technology, and there's respect of intellectual property which is consistent with some of the United States' claims," Amon said. "I think all of our customers in China are licensed, and when we see the respect of intellectual property, we provide export of semiconductors which is in, from my United States perspective, it's in the direction of increasing commerce of exports to China. "We allow the China ecosystem with the Belt and Road Initiative building, on our platform, the mobile ecosystem of China to not only support the transition of China domestic to 5G, but to expand to other markets." Source
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