Amid a deluge of takeover bids, Qualcomm Technologies has brought out its latest range of “Always Connected” computer devices. With Broadcom breathing down its neck and on the verge of taking control, the tech corporation launched mobile platform Snapdragon 845, with AR, VR and “XR” (extended reality) capabilities.
Announcing the launch from a Hawaii conference, the company said its third generation AI mobile platform is the latest to “blur the lines between physical and virtual worlds.” The product release comes exactly a week after Qualcomm filed three new legal challenges against Apple for alleged patent infringement, following disputes rumbling since January.
The move represents a product diversification from a company which predominantly earns its reputation from its leadership in smartphone tech. Qualcomm demonstrated its new range of Always Connected PCs in the shape of convertible tablets and laptops. Senior executives from Microsoft, Asus, Sprint, HP, AMD, Xiomi and Samsung Electronics jointly launched the “Gigabit LTE speed” fanless computer range. Qualcomm Technologies affirmed collaboration with AMD Ryzen processor platforms as integral to the connectivity of the PCs
“Always Connected PCs are instantly on, always connected with a week of battery life,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and devices group, Microsoft. “Powered by the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform, these Always PCs have huge benefits for organizations, enabling a new culture of work, better security and lower costs for IT.”
Qualcomm Technologies promised its latest mobile platform has three times better AI functionality that its previous two generations, “transforming your mobile device into the ultimate personal assistant”. The device has always-on keyword detection with low battery need, allowing “all day” voice interaction.
Today’s mobile “phone” is an entirely different beast from the breeze block Motorola Dynatec of 1983, which had 30 circuit boards and cost $4000. Advanced computing power has become a staple of handheld devices – and Snapdragon 845 is no exception. In addition to the existing support for Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook’s Caffe/Caffe2 frameworks, the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine (NPE) SDK can now support Tensorflow Lite and the new Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX).
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A new visual processing subsystem architecture “will transform entertainment, education and social interaction” as its VR projection achieves “room-scale” depth, according to Qualcomm Technologies. So-called “6 degrees of freedom (6DoF) is the latest advancement to create virutal, augmented and mixed reality experiences,” the company said.
“As leaders in mobile technology, we will transform the mobile experience with comprehensive advancements in visual processing, AI, security and connectivity,” said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager, mobile, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “The Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform is the next horizon of innovation and is going to transform the way people use their mobile devices to make their lives better.”
Commercial shipping of Snapdragon 845 is expected in early 2018. The platform will support XR headsets and the new PCs, as well as smartphones.