Qualcomm Shows Off Latest Chip and It's Packed

Know the number: 835.

That’s the model number of Qualcomm Inc.’s new, top-of-the-line Snapdragon processor, which packs 3 billion transistors into a diminutive package.

The San Diego company showed off the chip during the 2017 CES show Jan. 3-8 in Las Vegas.

Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) says it’s a chip built with enough speed and power to do virtual reality right. The Snapdragon 835 cuts down on “motion to photon latency,” which is the time lag between you moving your head, and your goggles updating their image to match the new direction of your head. Motion to photon latency makes people wearing virtual reality glasses feel seasick.

The new processor also supports Daydream, Google’s platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality.

Virtual reality glasses from Osterhout Design Group which contain the Snapdragon 835, were on display at the show.

The 835 chip — created with extra-fine 10 nanometer circuitry — is 35 percent smaller than Qualcomm’s previous generation flagship processor, and it consumes 25 percent less power. A single battery charge can go farther on an 835-equipped device, Qualcomm said.

A smaller chip also means that handset builders (or people building virtual reality devices) can make their hardware thinner and smaller.

The chip supports “exceptional photography,” said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm’s chip-making unit, in a prepared statement. Qualcomm promised better pictures in difficult lighting conditions. Improved zoom, stabilization and auto-focus are some of the chip’s features.

The Snapdragon 835 includes an advanced security platform called Qualcomm Haven. It offers support for fingerprint, eye and face-based biometrics. Qualcomm added that the chip also includes hardware-based user authentication, device attestation and device security for uses such as mobile payments and access to big corporate or institutional computer systems.

Qualcomm is known for wireless connectivity. An X16 LTE modem gives the new Snapdragon chip peak download speeds up to 10 times as fast as the original 4G LTE modems, the company said.

Devices running on the Snapdragon 835 will appear in the first half of this year.

The initials CES originally stood for Consumer Electronics Show. The show’s producers now prefer CES and discourage media from using those words.

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