The Snapdragon 821, announced by Qualcomm on Monday, is an incremental upgrade to the Snapdragon 820. In addition to mobile phones, it’s also aimed at tablets, drones, robots and virtual reality headsets.
The Snapdragon 821 is about 10 percent faster than its predecessor. It is also more power-efficient, meaning batteries in smartphones and phablets will last longer.
Smartphone buyers can look at smartphone specifications to see if a device has a Snapdragon 821 or 820.
Qualcomm is now the top dog of mobile chip companies, with Intel exiting the race. The company routinely releases incremental upgrades to its top-line chips. It released the Snapdragon 801 chip in 2014, with performance and graphics improvements, as an upgrade to the Snapdragon 800.
The Snapdragon 821 will boast minor graphics improvements, so smartphones with the new chip will be better equipped to handle Google’s DayDream mobile VR platform, for example.
The chip can also process 4K video in smartphones to show on external displays.
The Snapdragon 821 will have an integrated modem that can provide download speeds up to 600Mbps (bits per second), which is the same as its predecessor.
The CPU will operate at speeds of up to 2.4GHz. The chip is based on a homegrown architecture code-named Kryo.
Qualcomm didn’t provide further details, saying they would be shared at a later date. But it’s safe to assume the new chip will support LPDDR4 memory, and even Windows 10 Mobile, which works with Snapdragon 820.