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Snapdragon quad-core mobile CPU unveiled by Qualcomm

The mobile tech game is going to be bringing out exponentially more powerful hardware over the next year or two, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon family of processors is leading the charge at the moment. The company released the details on its upcoming upgrade to the CPU in a press release, revealing just how much power is stacked into that little chip. In short: more than you get from your personal computer right now, most likely.

Qulacomm’s Snapdragon line is built specifically for mobile devices, with the top-level flagship chip — the APG8064 — is a quad-core processor that offers speeds of up to 2.5GHz per core, all in a 28nm chip design. The small size serves to improve power demands and reduce the amount of heat generated, which in turn allows for smaller, lighter device form factors.

A critical component of the new Snapdragon line is Qualcomm’s built-in Adreno graphics processor. The APQ8064 packs in the Adreno 320, a quad-core GPU capable of delivering “fifteen times greater performance than the original Adreno GPU,” according to the press release. The combined horsepower of these two powerful processors promises a range of features, including support for larger screen sizes/resolutions, high-def gaming, stereoscopic 3D photo and video capture & playback and 1080p output to HD displays via an HDMI connection. Because it’s not a phone anymore unless you can futz with it on your TV or computer monitor, right?

There’s more to the chip too, including support for PCDDR2/LPDDR2 memory, multiple USB ports, serial and PCIe interfaces (common to desktop and laptop PCs), wireless LAN, Wi-Fi, GPS and near-field communication technology, or NFC, which would allow the Snapdragon-powered device to be used as a sort of digital wallet. The chipset will come in two other flavors in addition to the APQ8064: the single-core MSM8930 and the dual-core MSM8960. The 8960 could be available as early as this year, but the 8930 and 8064 won’t be arriving until sometime in 2012.