Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 808 And 810

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An Evolutionary Product

If you've paid any attention to the semiconductor market over the past few years, you're likely aware that the upcoming 20nm node is expected to offer fairly modest benefits compared to 28nm. Both TSMC and GlobalFoundries have pinned their hopes on 16nm FinFET (14nm-XM for GlobalFoundries), which they claim will offer a much greater performance scaling.

Still, the benefits of moving to the Cortex-A57 and A53 should be significant. ARM's new core is expected to deliver a boost over current 32-bit products; the Cortex-A53 will improve efficiency and battery life, and both chips will be able to utilize all of their cores at the same time. Meanwhile the 20nm radio will offer its own boots. The Snapdragon 810 will integrate features like Carrier Aggregation -- that won't matter much for US buyers, where technology introductions lag other nations, but it will benefit those of you who live in countries where wireless rollouts are actually prioritized.

Finally, the benefits of Qualcomm's 28nm RF may not be as sexy as other components, but the power savings can be utilized to drive either higher burst performance or better battery life. On the software side, if Android vendors see the same benefit to 64-bit that Apple did, the 810 could be 20-30% faster than the 805. Meanwhile, the 808 could be the real sleeper hit of the year -- Qualcomm has promised that it will outperform the 801 -- if it also improves power consumption, it could make a great platform for users who want high-end performance but with reasonable battery life.

20nm won't be the dramatic step forward that we saw from the 40nm - 28nm transition, but the introduction of 64-bit operating systems, higher-performing chips, and better wireless tech should collectively drive mobile performance upwards at a good clip through 2015.

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