Qualcomm unveils ‘always on’ voice activation and quicker charging for mobile devices

Google-Nexus-4-flQualcomm, the folks behind the infamous Snapdragon processors, will bring voice activation and speedier charging to mobile devices that use its innards.

Officially, the voice feature is called Snapdragon Voice Activation and is built into suite of Qualcomm’s integrated audio. The technology allows you to wake up a device by saying, “Hey Snapdragon.” The phrase will change depending on which manufacturer takes advantage of the tech. The wake-up command will only function on devices with the upcoming Snapdragon 800 series. It’s very similar to Samsung’s “Hi Galaxy” feature, but works at a more basic level to minimize negative effects on performance and longevity.

It functions by having your smartphone or tablet exist in an “always on” state so that it will always be listening for your voice, but shouldn’t affect battery life. The feature will debut with the Snapdragon 800 series and should work whether your device is in standby, airplane mode, or whatever other mode. Snapdragon Voice Activation is also programmed to recognize your unique vocal signature so you won’t have to worry about other people waking your phone up on the subway for a laugh. We’d do it.

It’s hard to imagine this voice activation will be used for anything but a party trick on smartphones. In tablets, however, it has potential. More and more tablets feature HDMI ports and using them as an internet hub for your television would be even easier if you could turn it out from the couch. Now we just need voice commands to hit play on Archer.

Quick Charge 2.0

Quick Charge 2.0, the new feature is the update to Quick Charge 1.0 and promises to juice up your smartphone or tablet 75 percent faster than normal. Quicker charging is a highly desired feature and Qualcomm plans to deliver, though with a couple caveats. Like Snapdragon Voice Activation, Quick Charge 2.0 only works with Snapdragon 800 processors, which haven’t been used in any mobile devices yet. The HTC One is sporting a 600 series so the 800 devices are probably still six months or so away.

Quick Charge 2.0 also needs a matching charger to function correctly and will charge more slowly if used with a Quick Charge 1.0-compatible charger. This is only a problem if you like to swap Micro USB chargers between devices. Hardware using the Snapdragon 800 chips will surely ship with chargers that can handle the increased charge speed.  

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