Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Will Bring Fast Connectivity, Charging

The upcoming mobile processor will offer download speeds of up to 600Mb/s, and the latest Quick Charge technology for faster device charging.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

Qualcomm officials are bringing a lot of fast connectivity to its upcoming next-generation Snapdragon chip.

At the company's 3G/LTE Summit in Hong Kong, the company announced that the Snapdragon 820 will include an integrated X12 LTE modem for connectivity that will offer download speeds of up to 600Mb/s and upload speeds of up to 150Mb/s to premium mobile devices. The new capabilities are a significant upgrade over the current Snapdragon 810 systems-on-a-chip [SoC], which offer download speeds of up to 450Mb/s and half the uplink speed, according to Prakash Sangam, director of technical marketing at Qualcomm.

Connectivity is becoming increasingly important given the broad range of tasks people run on their smartphones and the amount of sharing they do over social media networks, Sangam told eWEEK.

"We want 820 customers to not only take great photos, but we want them to be able to share them quickly," he said.

The announcement of the connectivity capabilities are the latest features Qualcomm officials are detailing as the company readies for the release of the Snapdragon 820, an important product for the world's largest supplier of mobile processors. The company ran into some issues with the Snapdragon 810, with the largest being Samsung's decision not to use it in its Galaxy S6 smartphone reportedly due to overheating problems.

Qualcomm had based the Snapdragon 810 on an off-the-shelf ARM CPU to help accelerate the company's entrance into the 64-bit space, but officials said that with the Snapdragon 820, the company was returning to a custom core design. Over the past several weeks, the company has released details about features in the Snapdragon 820, including the SoC's machine learning capabilities, the next-generation Adreno GPU and Spectra camera image signal processor (ISP), the Hexagon digital signal processor (DSP) and the Kyro CPU.

Devices powered by the Snapdragon 820 are expected to hit the market in the first half of next year.

Now officials are talking about the connectivity as well as the latest generation of the company's Quick Charge fast charging technology. Quick Charge 3.0 will be offered not only in the Snapdragon 820, but also in other SoCs, including the 620, 618, 617 and 430.

The Snapdragon 820's X12 LTE modem also will support LTE-U—unlicensed spectrum, such as 2.4GHz or 5GHz—which will mean more bandwidth. The SoC will enable better bandwidth and coverage through 4x4 MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) support, which will be particularly important when there is only a single LTE carrier available. The capability will mean twice the download throughput speeds on a single LTE carrier, according to the company.

On the WiFi side, the SoC will enable multi-gigabit 802.11ad WiFi and will offer a 2x2 MU-MIMO (Multi-user MIMO)802.11ac solution, all of which means more users being able to share a single access point, and a 50 percent increase in range over 1x1 configurations.

Qualcomm also is offering a number of advanced convergence technologies between LTE and WiFi, including antenna sharing between LTE and WiFi, which officials said will make it easier for smartphone OEMs to build devices that come with such features as LTE-U, 4x4 LTE MIMO and two-stream WiFi. LTE and WiFi Link Aggregation is another way of aggregating licensed and unlicensed spectrum, enabling mobile operators to use their WiFi to augment licensed spectrum capacity.