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Qualcomm CES 2016: First Snapdragon 820 phone, 820A deep learning chip for cars and drones

evan kypreos

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TrustedReviews is live at Qualcomm’s CES 2016 press conference in Las Vegas.

The first Snapdragon phone is announced and it’s from a company you wouldn't have heard of

Qualcomm finally announced the first phone to get its eagerly awaited Snapdragon 820 processor.

No – it’s not the Samsung Galaxy S7; it’s actually from a company called Letv and the phone is called the Letv Le Max Pro.

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Letv is one of China’s largest entertainment companies, spanning everything from internet TV to electric cars with plenty in between.

It’s also released four phones and has now announced the first smartphone with the Snapdragon 820.

Few other details about the phone were forthcoming, although it will feature an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner that Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf claims can be placed anywhere on the phone, even beneath glass or metal. Greasy or wet fingers should be an issue apparently – unlike the iPhone 6S.

Qualcomm claims there are 80 new devices in the works that will pack the 820.

Snapdragon 820A and 820Am chipsets for cars

Qualcomm announced a partnership with Audi to equip the company's latest fleet with the Snapdragon 602A module.

However Qualcomm then announced the Snapdragon 820A and 820Am that has “the ability to do GPD and GLONASS in one chip. It’s smart and has a custom 64-bit CPU core” Mollenkopf told us.

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It can seamlessly run satnav and map apps while simultaneously running multiple screens for the rear passengers to provide entertainment for the kids.

The 820A and 820Am chips can also detect multiple lane markings and can understand traffic signs using machine intelligence or "deep learning".

All of this tech is combined with LTE download speeds of up to 600Mbps.

Robotics and drones

Qualcomm also wants to bring the Snapdragon’s “high-end performance capabilities to drones and robots”.

Being successful in the drone space requires you to have small and light tech that “sounds a lot like the same capabilities you need to be successful in the smartphone space” explains Mollenkopf, suggesting Qualcomm is perfectly placed for this application.

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Tencent and ZEROTECH are developing commercial drones based on the Snapdragon Flight Platform.

Wearables and the Internet of Things

Qualcomm also announced a number of chips for smart-home and smart-city applications. Incredibly, the 9607 LTE chip is able to run for 10 years on just two AA batteries.

It also announced the CSR8675 Bluetooth SoC that can stream aptX HD audio to headphones or speakers.

There are already more than 65 commercial wearables packing Qualcomm tech with 50 more coming.

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Return to form for Qualcomm?

Qualcomm had a disappointing 2015.

The company's stocks plummeted by 30% for a number of reasons, from fines to rumours that the Snapdragon 810 had issues.

However, its press conference at CES 2016 was bullish and with the advent of drones, smart cars, the Internet of Things and 5G, it seems that Qualcomm is well set for the future.

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