Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro: Coming soon to eat the competition alive

Snapdragon LogoThe majority of this year’s most exciting mobile gadgets are powered by quad-core processors, from the Samsung Galaxy S3 to the Google Nexus 7, however none hide a Qualcomm chip inside, as the famous manufacturer has so far held off entering the market.

We knew a Qualcomm quad-core chip was coming, but the company had faith in its range of dual-core S4 processors, which power the 4G LTE variants of international 3G quad-core phones such as the S3 and the HTC One X, and wasn’t rushing into anything.

This week Qualcomm has formally made the new Snapdragon S4 Pro, its first quad-core chip for mobile, available to manufacturers. The very first device to utilize the S4 Pro is a reference design tablet, and it has been put through its paces in a variety of benchmark tests, revealing how it stacks up against the competition.

Its Quadrant scores are nothing short of astonishing. Using the popular, all-round performance benchmarking test, it trounced the Nvidia Tegra 3 in the HTC One X, and Samsung’s Exynos 4 Quad in the Galaxy S3, returning a result of 7,635 against 4.430 and 5,283 respectively.

Snapdragon S4 Pro BenchmarkSwitching to GLBenchmark for an assessment of the S4 Pro’s computational and graphical abilities, TheVerge.com noted that 720p video ran to 131 frames-per-second, eclipsing even the Exynos 4 Quad’s impressive 101 frames-per-second, and easily besting the One X’s 65.

S4 Pro’s asynchronous cores

Of course, benchmarks are just one side of the story, and in the real world, what sounded like a huge performance gap is sometimes barely noticeable, usually due to software restrictions.

The APQ8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro has four Krait cores, each running at 1.5Ghz inside the developer tablet, and it uses the new Adreno 320 graphics chip too, which is said to be twice as fast as the Adreno 225 and will bring improved dynamic lighting and shading effects to games.

With quad-core powered devices, battery life is always a concern, and rather than go down the same route as Nvidia with its fifth “companion” core on the Tegra 3, Qualcomm is singing the virtues of the S4 Pro’s asynchronous timing. This allows each core to run at different speeds, or to be isolated entirely, to conserve energy. Qualcomm also uses the same technology in its dual-core Krait S4s too.

If you’re desperate to get your hands on a device that uses the new Krait S4 Pro chips, then you can buy the Mobile Development Platform Tablet directly from manufacturers BSquare. It has a 10.1-inch, 1368 x 768 pixel touchscreen, a 13-megapixel camera, 32GB of internal memory, 2GB of RAM and a host of physical connections. It does cost $1300 though, and is really only suitable for developer use.

Qualcomm say consumer products using the Snapdragon S4 Pro will start appearing towards the end of this year, so perhaps we should look out for the first of these next generation Snapdragon-powered devices during the IFA 2012 trade show at the end of August.

Once they go on sale, we wonder how many people will be saying they “shoulda got a Snapdragon?


Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.

Windows 10 Mobile is dead: Switch to iOS or Android, Microsoft says

A Microsoft support page detailed the company's plans to end support for Windows 10 Mobile in less than a year. Users with devices powered by the platform are suggested to switch to iOS or Android devices.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

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!

How to use iOS 12’s Passwords and Accounts tool to autofill passwords

Keeping track of all your passwords and accounts can be a real chore. If you use an iPhone with iOS 12, then you don't have to. Here's how to use iOS 12's own password manager to autofill passwords.

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!

Razer’s Wireless Charger will turn your desk into gamer heaven

The Razer Wireless Charger adds colorful flair to your desk or bedside table. It works with any phone that supports Qi wireless charging -- with some quirks -- but is it worth the high price tag? We take a look.

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.

The best Apple Watch bands and straps to stylize your timepiece

If you have an Apple Watch, you know how easy it is to take off the strap it came with, so why not buy yourself another one? Here, we've gathered the best Apple Watch bands we've seen so far. There's something for everyone.

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.

Apple resurrects the iPhone SE with brand-new units starting at $249

Apple quietly started selling the iPhone SE again, at even lower prices than when it was discontinued four months ago. Brand new units of the 32GB version are on sale for $249, while the 128GB version is going for $299.