2015, Event, Hardware, Mobile Computing, Mobile World Congress, VR World

MWC 2015: Qualcomm Gives a First Look At Snapdragon 820

During its keynote at the 2015 Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) gave a few more details on its upcoming Snapdragon 820 flagship SoC.

While the details during the keynote were rather sparse, we did learn a few important things. First the chip’s CPU will be Qualcomm’s new Kyro 64-bit architecture using ARMv8. Dubbed Kyro, this will be fabricated on a 16nm process node likely from TSMC (TPE: 2330). No details on the chip’s GPU or CPU speed were announced.

However the most talked about feature of the Snapdragon 820 will not be the Kyro CPU, but rather the machine learning integrated into the chip called Zeroth. Qualcomm says Zeroth will allow the device to learn more about its surroundings by collecting data from all of its sensors such as its microphone and camera. All of the processing and machine learning will be done locally on-chip rather than in the cloud.


Qualcomm said that Zeroth’s capabilities will evolve over time. Its first use cases will be simple but things will improve as time goes on. Qualcomm said that it will have a number of technology demos on the show floor later this week.

For Qualcomm this is a way to differentiate its chips from the competition. Having lost the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge to the competition (in this case Samsung’s (KRX:005930) home-grown SoCs), Qualcomm needs something spectacular to set its chips apart from the competition. Progressively faster CPU and GPU speeds just won’t cut it anymore.

The Snapdragon 820 will start shipping in the second half of this year. Qualcomm did not say when devices containing it will be available to consumers.