Qualcomm promises 1.5Ghz Snapdragon devices in 2011

Chip performance and new display technology to improve smartphones

Stewart Mitchell
9 Sep 2010

New Snapdragon chips will arrive next year, bringing with them better video and new tools for mobile devices.

Qualcomm has said two Snapdragon chips are on the horizon, with the 1.2GHz MSM8260 due for arrival in devices in early 2011, followed by a 1.5GHz model by the end of next year.

One technology that could benefit is high-definition video, which should see improved performance using the dual-core capabilities of Snapdragon, Qualcomm said.

We are accelerating video in hardware, with a dedicated video core that can make a crisp, clear picture

“We are accelerating video in hardware, with a dedicated video core that can make a crisp, clear picture,” said Qualcomm product manager Aytac Biber. “We can offload the burden of these operations from the general purpose CPU so that it can take care of the household tasks.”

The company is also planning to introduce what it calls Augmented Reality displays that will use a phone's camera to capture images and overlay relevant information on the display.

“This will be used for games and interactive media, where, for example, I could point my phone at a product in a shop and it would display more information on it or show coupons,” said Jay Wright, director of business development.

“Or it could be used for instructional applications like walkthroughs, where you could point it at a car radio and it would superimpose arrows to explain how to work the radio.

“The biggest difference here is that most augmented reality has been compass or GPS based and this is vision based, which is only possibly because of greater processing power.”

E-ink screens for mobiles

For users fed up of flat batteries, Qualcomm also said e-ink style screens will mean mobile displays won't need to constantly go dark to conserve battery life.

Qualcomm showed off what it claims to be the first MEMS display for mobile devices. The company says the technology is based on the way light reflects off a butterfly's wings, and the key factor is that, like the e-ink in e-readers, it does not use a backlight, so consumes less energy.

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