Qualcomm’s Newest Smartphone Chip Aimed at PC Breakthrough

  • Snapdragon 835 will enable thinner handset with larger battery
  • ‘There will be a blurring of the PC and the smartphone’

Qualcomm unveils its new Snapdragon 835 chip.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Qualcomm Inc., the largest maker of mobile phone chips, showed off its newest smartphone part, the Snapdragon 835, a product that’s also aimed at getting the company into the PC market.

The new part, successor to a range of chips that run most of the world’s high-end smartphones, will enable thinner handsets with larger batteries and draw less power than its predecessors, according to Qualcomm. It’s also the first processor to be made using 10 nanometer manufacturing process, which makes it the industry’s most advanced piece, Qualcomm said.

The 835 is going to need to back up that assertion as Qualcomm is also pitching it as the first mobile phone part capable of taking on Intel Corp. chips in personal computers. Microsoft Corp. has made a version of Windows 10 software that will work on Snapdragon, setting Qualcomm up as the first possible new challenger to Intel’s dominance of that market in decades.

“There will be a blurring of the PC and the smartphone,” said Keith Kressin, a Qualcomm senior vice president.

The 835 is the first Qualcomm product that will enter the PC market and future versions will be tweaked to make them even better suited for larger-screen devices, he said.

For phones it will bring greater battery life, better performance in new areas such as virtual reality, improved processing of images from cameras and specific new capabilities aimed at making it easier for handsets to handle artificial intelligence-type work such as running virtual assistants and artificially enhancing and sorting photographs, Qualcomm said.

Phones built on the chip will go on sale in the first half of 2017, the company said.

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