Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 is tailor-made for VR and superfast charging

qualcomm
Karlis Dambrans/Flickr
Thought your next phone couldn’t get any thinner, lighter, faster, and more power-efficient than your current model? Think again. At chipmaker Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in New York in November, the firm unveiled its most impressive silicon yet — the Snapdragon 835.

The processor’s built on 10-nanometer FinFET process. In plain English, that basically means it is more compact than the current top-of-the-line Snapdragon 821, which is built on 14nm tech. Qualcomm said the new architecture packs 30 percent more parts into the same space and has a significantly smaller footprint, improvements which it contends will allow for “slimmer [smartphone] designs” and “larger batteries.” Those and other enhancements help to deliver 27 percent better performance, a 40 percent reduction in power draw, and “significant” gains in battery life.

The processor’s other big advancement involves rapid battery charging. Currently, Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 standard tops out at 80 percent capacity after 15 minutes of charging, but the next iteration, Quick Charge 4.0, features a 20 percent improvement in speed and a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency. That translates to up to five hours of extra battery life in just five minutes of charging, or 50 percent of a battery’s capacity in 15 minutes.

Qualcomm said the rapid charging tech is fully compatible with both the USB Type-C and USB Power delivery specifications ratified by the USB-Implementers Forum, the industry  body that standardizes USB technologies. Previous implementations of Qualcomm’s tech, including a few packed into the Snapdragon 821, run afoul of spec by manipulating voltage to reduce recharge times and employing workarounds to set charging speed. Qualcomm said that Quick Charge 4.0, in contrast, is fully compliant.

It is also in line with Google’s compatibility document for future Android devices, a draft of which the company published this week. In it, the search giant called for USB Type-C devices that “support[ed] full interoperability with standard Type-C chargers” — a requirement which Qualcomm’s previous Snapdragon chips did not meet.

The new processor also packs a wealth of protections against the sort of catastrophic heat buildup exhibited by Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7. One, the latest generation of the company’s INOV (Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage) software, monitors power transfer in real time to ensure it does not exceed safe operating temperatures. Four levels of thermal protection — some at the chassis, others at the battery, and several inside the chip itself — sense the type and quality of plugged-in charging cables. New features extend the longevity of the battery — Qualcomm said it will maintain at least 80 percent of its original capacity after 500 charge cycles.

The company is teaming up with electronics behemoth Samsung to build the processors, which it expects to begin shipping in the first half of 2017. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with Qualcomm Technologies in producing the Snapdragon 835 using our 10nm FinFET technology,” Jong Shik Yoon, Samsung’s executive vice president and head of its foundry business, said in a press release. “This collaboration is an important milestone for our foundry business as it signifies confidence in Samsung’s leading chip process technology.”

You can expect it to begin appearing in new smartphones in the coming months.

Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Mobile

How does fast charging work? Here’s every single standard compared

Modern smartphones can charge in mere minutes instead of hours. How does fast charging work? Here's a guide to the most popular standards, including Qualcomm Quick Charge, Apple fast charging, OnePlus Dash Charge, and more.
Product Review

This featherweight Fossil might be the lean smartwatch you've been waiting for

Fossil has released its first-ever smartwatch featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100. For $255, it comes equipped with a heart-rate sensor, built-in GPS, and more, but does the Fossil Sport live up to the hype? We take a closer look.
Computing

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Mobile

Samsung patents show what Infinity-O display could look like on Galaxy S10

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to use it.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Mobile

How to choose the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone or tablet

If you need some extra storage space and your device supports it, then a MicroSD card is an obvious place to start. Here, we look at what to consider and suggest some of the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone.
Mobile

Common Kindle Fire problems, and how to fix them

Is your Amazon tablet giving you grief? Is it refusing to behave the way you expect? Take a deep breath -- everything will be fine. Here are some widely reported Kindle Fire problems and a few possible solutions to go with them.
Mobile

Tumblr for iOS vanishes from App Store, possibly due to inappropriate content

Tumblr for iOS is currently only allowing searches in Safe Mode, and it is not available on the App Store. The speculation is that the app's disappearance had something to do with inappropriate content.
Deals

All the best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Mobile

Barnes & Noble’s new Nook tablet now has its own keyboard cover and dock

Barnes & Noble recently launched its largest mobile device to date, the Nook Tablet 10.1. Now the company has released a couple of accessories designed exclusively for the new Nook: A keyboard cover and a charging dock.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for November 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.