When Qualcomm revealed its next top-end Snapdragon chip a few weeks ago, called the 820, we heard lots of promises about its Adreno 530 GPU and Spectra ISP. Now, we're being fed some information regarding the next-gen Hexagon 680 DSP, which will be included in the SoC.
DSP stands for digital signal processor, and is a specialized chip used in digital processing, such as with audio compression and video playback. As a chip with a specific function, it can draw much less power than the regular CPU in an SoC -- something super important when we're talking mobile.
With its Hexagon 680 DSP, Qualcomm has a couple of features it wants to draw attention to. First is a separate chip that will be used for sensor processing. The company dubs this a "low power island", and as it sounds, it's designed to process sensor information with minimal power usage. This particular chip could be used for step-counting, sensor-assisted positioning, and so forth.
The second big feature is the introduction of HVX, or Hexagon Vector eXtensions, an accelerator that helps improve computer vision when coupled with the Spectra ISP (image signal processor). Qualcomm says that this will adaptively adjust lighting in dark scenes (such as the example above) at a mere 10% of the power that a CPU would require.
Overall, this all sounds great, because anything that's going to reduce power consumption and still deliver great processing power is more than welcomed. Let's just hope it lives up to the hype.