Ina Fried

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Qualcomm Announces Faster Snapdragon 805 Mobile Chip, Aims to Make the Home Router Smarter

Qualcomm is announcing on Wednesday a faster version of its high-end Snapdragon chip and a separate effort to take on a more central role in powering networking gear.


Asa Mathat | All Things Digital

In its Snapdragon line, the company is debuting the Snapdragon 805, which it said packs up to 40 percent faster graphics performance and support for UltraHD (4K) video. That chip is sampling now and expected to show up in mobile devices by the first half of next year. The other big announcement — the new IPQ chip — is designed to transform home Internet gear the way that smartphones changed the shape of the cellular phone market.

“We want to do the same for the home,” said Amir Faintuch, a Qualcomm senior VP and head of the company’s Qualcomm Atheros unit.

The chipmaker is making the announcements at its yearly meeting with analysts being held on Wednesday.

Faintuch argues that the time is right to put more powerful chips into home networking gear.

“Today we have a very simple, primitive yet sufficient network processor” powering most of that gear, Faintuch said. That has been fine in a world where access points have to connect to a computer or two and maybe a television and set-top box.

But the routers and hubs of the future will have to manage far faster connections and dozens of devices, necessitating a new level of processors, Faintuch said.

Faintuch said that the chip is now sampling to customers, with initial IPQ-based products expected in the first quarter of next year.

“Timing is key,” he said.

Qualcomm actually placed its bet a while ago, agreeing in January 2011 to pay $3.1 billion to acquire Wi-Fi chip specialist Atheros.

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