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Qualcomm adds new chip for 4K video to Snapdragon line

Qualcomm on Wednesday unveiled several new processors designed to widen its lead in the mobile market.

The first, the Snapdragon 805, is geared at mobile devices and 4K, Ultra HD TVs. The chip is part of the company’s high-end mobile chip line and was designed to “deliver the highest-quality mobile video, imaging, and graphics experiences.” Qualcomm noted it’s the company’s highest-performing chip so far.

Another, the Gobi 9×35 is Qualcomm’s fourth-generation 4G LTE modem. Along with LTE, the chip also runs 3G and other wireless technologies. Qualcomm also announced a new RF transceiver chip, the WTR3925. The company noted that both chips offer “significant improvements in performance, power consumption, and printed circuit board area requirements.”

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The Gobi 9×35 is Qualcomm’s first cellular modem created at 20 nanometers, or billionths of a meter. Its smaller size will allow for thinner and lighter devices.

“Using a smartphone or tablet powered by Snapdragon 805 processor is like having an UltraHD home theater in your pocket, with 4K video, imaging, and graphics, all built for mobile,” Murthy Renduchintala, executive vice president of Qualcomm Technologies, said in a press release. “Coupled with our industry leading Gobi LTE modems and RF transceivers, streaming and watching content at 4K resolution will finally be possible.”

Qualcomm provides applications processors that serve as the brains of electronics, and it leads the market for providing chips that allow mobile devices to connect to wireless networks. Its 4G LTE processors in particular have been gaining strong traction of late and are used in gadgets like the iPhone 5S. However, competition in 4G LTE is expected to increase as rival products hit the market from companies such as Intel.

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Qualcomm first unveiled its Snapdragon 800 and 600 lines at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Since that time, many devices have shipped with the processors, including the LG G2 smartphone and the Google Nexus 5 phone.

The Snapdragon 805 features Qualcomm’s new Adreno 420 graphics processor, with up to 40 percent more graphics processing power than its predecessor. The company said it’s the first mobile processor to offer system-level 4K/Ultra HD support, 4K video capture and playback, and enhanced dual camera image signal processors for better performance, multitasking, and power efficiency.

The chip has four cores and runs at speeds of up to 2.5 GHz per core. It’s able to stream more video content at higher quality using less power, Qualcomm said, and it allows for sharper, higher resolution photos in low light and advanced post-processing features.

Customers currently are sampling the Snapdragon 805. It will be in devices in the first half of next year.

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