Want a Google Daydream VR phone? You may need this first

Qualcomm has shed light on its new Snapdragon 821 processor, revealing the true potential of the firm’s most supercharged chip.

It turns out that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 will be the first of the company’s chips to support the new Google Daydream platform. This means that when the first Daydream-ready smartphones land later this year, they could very well ship with a Snapdragon 821 on board.

When Google announced its Daydream platform earlier this year, it was clear that no existing smartphones would be able to handle its virtual reality demands. Google requested that Daydream-ready phones feature high-density phone displays, an abundance of sensors, and superfast CPUs and GPUs. Daydream is also based on Android 7.0 Nougat, which is yet to ship as standard on any smartphone.

At the time of the announcement, companies confirmed to be developing devices for Daydream included: Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, Asus, Alcatel, and ZTE. It’s likely that some (and perhaps all) of these devices will run on the Snapdragon 821.

DaydreamDaydream is Google’s custom-built VR platform for Android

Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 821 this year, but left out most of the important details, save for confirming that it would be 10% faster than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 820. Now, Qualcomm says that compared to the Snapdragon 820, the Snapdragon 821 will:

  • Boot up devices 10% faster
  • Reduce app load times by 10%
  • Allow for smoother scrolling and a “more responsive browsing performance”
  • 10% improvement in performance
  • 5% GPU speed increase
  • 5% increase power savings

Qualcomm is also offering developers its Snapdragon VR dev kit – Snapdragon VR SDK – to go with the Snapdragon 821, and says that it’s fully compatible with the Google Daydream platform, adding: “Snapdragon VR SDK supports a superior level of visual and audio quality and more immersive virtual reality and gaming experiences in a mobile environment.”

The first phone to ship with the Snapdragon 821 on board is the Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe. However, Qualcomm says it is waiting for “additional OEMs to deploy Snapdragon 821 powered devices”, and pledged that it’s already working on the technology for the next generation of flagship Snapdragon processors.

Related: IFA 2016

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