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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 will be the ‘processor of choice’ this fall

Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 821 in July, but it’s offering a few more details on the processor as IFA 2016, the Berlin consumer electronics show, gears up to begin.

More than 115 flagship smartphones and tablets out this year use Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 820 processor, which has been heralded for its speed and processing power since it was announced late last year. It has proven itself as the industry leader as it powers flagship devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge, the LG G5, the HTC 10, and the Sony Xperia X.

But the new Snapdragon 821 will be “the processor of choice” for the fall — many devices announced at IFA and in the coming weeks are likely to sport it. The 821 “delivers faster speed, improved power savings, and greater application performance,” and to be a little more precise, it offers a 10-percent performance increase over the Snapdragon 820.

The Snapdragon 821 features a Kryo quad-core CPU and can reach speeds of up to 2.4GHz, but apart from that it doesn’t look like there’s much else new with the processor. Still, it doesn’t mean that the 821 can’t offer a dramatic performance boost. Qualcomm has lined up a few ways the 821 excels: Enhanced overall user experience, improved performance and power consumption, and new features.

Compared to the 820, the Snapdragon 821 improves the boot time of a device up to 10 percent faster, apps launch faster as load times are reduced up to 10 percent, and you’ll find an overall improvement in scrolling and a “more responsive browsing performance.”

Along with the 10-percent performance increase, Qualcomm says the Adreno GPU also received a 5 percent speed increase over the Snapdragon 820. The semi-conductor company says it has also delivered “5 percent power savings when comparing standard use case models.”

But the main highlight is the 821’s new features — notably, the processor is compatible with Google’s upcoming Daydream platform, and also supports the Snapdragon VR Software Development Kit.  That’s helpful for developers building content for virtual reality, like Daydream which is set to launch this fall.

Daydream is Google’s upcoming virtual-reality platform. The search giant provided manufacturers with a reference design so they could build their own headset and remote, and Google is also building its very own VR headset to accompany its Nexus devices. Qualcomm says we’ll find the Snapdragon 821 in “mobile VR head mounted displays and other new devices.”

The 821 also provides faster image autofocus speeds thanks to Dual PDAF; the focusing range has increased, “improving laser focal accuracy;” and the Snapdragon 821 is officially Android 7.0 Nougat-ready.

We already know of the first device that utilizes the Snapdragon 821 — it’s Asus’ ZenFone 3 Deluxe. Expect to hear more new devices with the processor in the coming weeks.

Article originally published in July. Updated on 08-31-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added more details about the Snapdragon 821 processor. 

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