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Though not as exciting as the launch of a new chip or the deployment of a new wireless technology, Qualcomm today takes a big step towards revamping its image and setting the direction for its flagship Snapdragon product line going forward.
The Snapdragon 835 SoC product will now be referred to as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform, removing the moniker of “processor” from the name. All Snapdragon 800-, 600- and 400- chips will follow the same pattern, dropping the term processor and instead adding “mobile platform.”
With dwindling market share in the consumer space and most recent reports showing well under 20% for AMD, the excitement and demand for Ryzen is a welcome change for its CPU division. AMD’s marketing team is well practiced in churning up fans and communities to enthusiasm levels well beyond most other silicon providers thanks in large part to the personnel in its GPU/Radeon division. It now appears that the passage of time, and the pent-up demand for any competition to Intel in the mainstream gaming and enthusiast markets, is going to provide a boost for AMD in 2017.
The topic of honesty in the world of mobile performance benchmarks can draw pursed lips and awkward glances when brought up in a meeting involving a silicon SoC provider. It’s not a secret that gaming the system has been a frequent area of concern since phone reviews became an intrinsic part of the purchasing process for many consumers, but it isn’t a popular subject. Some of the most-respected in media showed back in 2013 that nearly everyone involved in the process had some portion of blame, resulting in dishonest scores and performance metrics that led to ill-informed customers.
A similar, but more nuanced, discussion can be had about SoC and handset performance over time. Thiscan take two angles: first, performance of benchmarks in long-term usage scenarios (sustained performance); and second, performance of phones through software and firmware updates released weeks, months, and even years later.
Earlier today a report commissioned by Qualcomm was released focusing on the impact of upcoming 5G standards and technology on the global economy. (https://www.qualcomm.com/invention/5g/economy) Qualcomm, along with nearly every major player in the technology and wireless industry, believes that 5G will bring about a new era of connected devices with a combined intelligence far greater than what we can demonstrate on today’s offerings. The 5G Economy was led by research firms IHS Markit and PSB, with outside verification by leading economist and professor Dr. David Teece, director of the Tusher Center at the Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley, and principal executive officer of the Berkeley Research Group. The results and tone of the report point towards a substantially more dramatic impact of the move to 5G than we have seen in any previous wireless technology migration.
Many consumers and businesses today not only utilize mobile 4G and 3G technology, but have come to depend on it to drive growth and sustain modern business models. 5G will move mobile wireless connectivity to a new level, hitting the landmark of being considered a General Purpose Technology, a designation given to technologies that change the world. Other GPTs include the printing press, electricity, automobiles, and the internet, putting this new predicted classification into proper context.
At the WinHEC developer conference in China today, Qualcomm and Microsoft have announced a partnership to enable a full Windows 10 computing environment on systems based on the next-generation of Snapdragon processors in the second half of 2017. The importance of this announcement can’t be overstated – it marks another attempt for Microsoft to enter the non-x86 market with mobile devices (think tablets and notebooks, less smartphones)
In August at the company’s annual developer forum, Intel officially took the lid off its 7th generation of Core processor series, codenamed Kaby Lake. The build up to this release has been an interesting one as we saw the retirement of the “tick tock” cadence of processor releases and instead are moving into a market where Intel can spend more development time on a single architecture design to refine and tweak it as the engineers see fit. With that knowledge in tow, I believed, as I think many still do today, that Kaby Lake would be something along the lines of a simple rebrand of current shipping product. After all, since we know of no major architectural changes from Skylake other than improvements in the video and media side of the GPU, what is left for us to look forward to?
Though we are still months away from shipping devices, Qualcomm has announced that it will be building its upcoming flagship Snapdragon 835 mobile SoC on Samsung’s 10nm 2nd generation FinFET process technology. Qualcomm tells us that integrating the 10nm node in 2017 will keep it “the technology leader in mobile platforms” and this makes the 835 the world's first 10nm production processor.
In a somewhat stunning announcement today, NVIDIA is reporting a record quarter ending in October. CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said that it represents a "breakout quarter - record revenue, record margins and record earnings were driven by strength across all product lines."
Oculus has announced that as of today, support for Asynchronous Spacewarp is available and active for all users that install the 1.10 runtime. Announced at the Oculus Connect 3 event in October, ASW promises to complement existing Asynchronous Timewarp (ATW) technology to improve the experience of VR for lower performance systems that might otherwise result in stutter
Qualcomm announces a trio of new SoCs for high performance and mainstream mobile devices.