Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 will be an octa-core monster

Alex Kidman 4 January 2017

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Eight cores of power will run 2017’s premium smartphones.

It was widely expected that Qualcomm would use CES 2017 to announce its Snapdragon 835 SoC, and that’s precisely what it has done in Las Vegas today. Even Qualcomm got in on the teasing act, unveiling the name at least before announcing the Snapdragon 835 more formally.

The Snapdragon 835 eschews the quad-core setup of its Snapdragon 820 and 821 forebears in favour of an octa-core setup; more specifically, four 2.45Ghz performance cores and four efficiency cores clocked at 1.9Ghz. On the graphics side, the new Adreno 540 GPU brings with it OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan, DX12 and full OpenCL 2.0, which means it’s well suited for both regular smartphone visual tasks as well as the more GPU-intensive emergent apps such as VR and AR. The claim for Adreno 540 is that it should offer a 25% jump in graphics performance.

Qualcomm’s claim with the Snapdragon 835 is that it will offer around a 25% improvement in battery performance compared to the Snapdragon 820. That’s at least in part due to the use of a 10nm process that sees the overall SoC shrink by 35% compared to previous generations. It’s expected that the first smartphones running the Snapdragon 835 will ship in the first half of this year, with many tipping the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 as one of its first flagship smartphone devices. That said, the first announced device to use the Snapdragon 835 won't be a smartphone at all, but instead a set of AR glasses from ODG, the R-8 and R-9 augmented reality smartglasses.

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Qualcomm also outlined its vision for the future of vehicle tracking using Snapdragon processors and Qualcomm modems to enable wider machine learning of road and driver conditions. With automotive technology, ranging from the heavily hyped Faraday Future vehicle to the efforts of more traditional brands such as Ford or GM heavily on display at CES 2017, Qualcomm clearly wants to be part of the automotive future as well.

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Alex Kidman travelled to Las Vegas for CES 2017 as a guest of Dell.

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