Qualcomm targets your 2014 superphone with its new, faster Snapdragon 805 chip

Qualcomm has ruled the top-end of the smartphone market this year with its Snapdragon 800 processor. Let’s think about some of the handsets it’s powering. There’s the Nexus 5, Google’s latest wonder phone, along with the world’s first Windows Phone phablet, the Nokia Lumia 1520. It’s also found inside such desirable smartphones as the Galaxy Note 3, the Xperia Z1, and the Padfone Infinity 2. 

So, you’d think Qualcomm would hold off announcing its inevitable successor, right? Wrong. Next year, the sequels to all these, along with many and varied new models, could be using the Snapdragon 805. Announced this week, the new 805 chip is faster and more graphically capable than its predecessor, with the added bonus of being relatively future-proofed too.

While the Snapdragon 800 maxes out at 2.3GHz, the 805 pushes its four Krait 450 cores all the way up to 2.5GHz, and the existing Adreno 330 graphics processor (GPU) has been replaced by the brand-new Adreno 420. Qualcomm says this will provide even better graphics than before, thanks to a 40 percent performance bump – while using less power.

These could be considered regular improvements over any previous generation product, but Qualcomm is also looking towards the future with the Snapdragon 805. Most importantly, the chip will happily run the next, 1440p screens and beyond, all the way up to 4K resolutions. We’ve been hearing about next-gen displays for a few months, with LG and Japan Display both showing off panels with 2560 x 1440 pixels, which should arrive next year. 

Additionally, the Snapdragon 800 is prepared for the next level of LTE connectivity, and supports LTE Category 4, or LTE-Advanced as it’s better known. Although this hasn’t made it to the U.S., several networks around the world already offer the blazing fast, 150Mbps connection, so it’s only a matter of time before it becomes more common.

Qualcomm says it’s testing the chip at the moment, but expects it to start showing up in phones and tablets before the middle of 2014. While CES may be a little early, debuts at Mobile World Congress are certainly possible.

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