Qualcomm’s last top-end offering, the Snapdragon 810 proved to be a bad joke for the company. Marred by heating issues and bad publicity as the consequence, it proved to be less popular all round compared to the past iterations.
Things might improve this time though with the new Snapdragon 820. So what’s changed this time?
For one, Qualcomm has replaced Cortex core with a new 64-bit custom Kryo ones. The chip is likely made on a 14nm or 16nm process, down from the 20nm of the 810. Not much else has been announced on this front, though the new GPU and ISP are well covered.
The Snapdragon 820 makes use of the new Adreno 530 GPU, the first in the Adreno 500 series. Adreno 530 is said to bring a 40 percent improvement in performance, while consuming 40 percent less power.
Adreno 530 will also support OpenGL 3.1 (or 3.2 when it’s released) along with the new Vulcan API. It will be powerful enough to stream 4K videos at 60 fps to UHD televisions via HDMI 2.0, or at 30fps wirelessly.
Lastly, the GPU will support the rendering of high-res. VR videos, giving phones better compatibility with VR headsets. It can also potentially help with shooting VR content.
Another major upgrade in the 820 is in its ISP (Image Sensor Processor). The processor now supports two cameras on the back, with different focal lengths. The point here is to add depth to the existing images and then tweak them, much like HTC’s two-camera setups of the past.
It allows 25 megapixel photos at up to 30 fps with zero shutter lag. Companies will also be able to simulate optical zoom, rather than the usual digital zoom. It will also bring hybrid autofocus, better low-light performance as well as better handling of smaller camera pixels. Those last bits are mainly due to a new Spectra image processor.
The chips is likely to hit the markets in phones, tablets and even cars in the first half of 2016. Hopefully, it will be able to fend off the kind of troubles its predecessor faced, while delivering even more performance.