Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC for Mid-Range Devices, Snapdragon Wear 1200 Platform Launched

At MWC Shanghai 2017, Qualcomm announced a host of new offerings, the most notable being the Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform meant for mid-range smartphones and tablets. The chip brings upgrades over the Snapdragon 435 SoC in terms of battery life, imaging, and gaming performance as well. Alongside, the company also announced the new Snapdragon Wear 1200 platform and even highlighted the new Xiaotiancai Z3 kid smartwatch based on Snapdragon Wear 2100.

Snapdragon 450
Starting with the new Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform, the SoC sports an octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU chips built on the 14nm FinFET process that results in 25 percent increase in compute performance compared to its predecessor Snapdragon 435. Additionally, the integrated Adreno 506 GPU delivers a 25 percent increase in graphics performance over the Snapdragon 435. The Snapdragon 450 is claimed to offer up to 4 hours more battery life than its predecessor as well as up to a 30 percent reduction in power consumption when gaming. It supports LTE Cat. 6 connectivity with its Snapdragon X9 LTE modem, up to full-HD+ (1440×2160 pixels) resolution, USB 3.0, and Quick Charge 3.0 (zero to 80 percent in about 35 minutes) as well. It also comes with support for a large number of mobile networks with Snapdragon All Mode, and 802.11ac with MU-MIMO support.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC for Mid-Range Devices, Snapdragon Wear 1200 Platform Launched

Qualcomm also notes that this is the first chip in the Snapdragon 400 Mobile Platform tier to support real-time Bokeh. This means that portrait mode could arrive on mid-range smartphones as well, and real-time Bokeh will allow you to just see exactly how your photo looks before taking the picture. It is also designed to support for enhanced dual camera at two 13-megapixel sensors, or single camera support up to 21-megapixel; hybrid autofocus; and 1080p video capture and playback at up to 60fps, enabling slow motion capture. The Snapdragon 450 also includes support for Qualcomm Hexagon DSP, which is claimed to enable multimedia, camera, and sensor processing at greater performance and lower power than the previous generation.

Expect companies like Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo to take advantage of the Snapdragon 450 and launch mid-range smartphones packed with features. The Snapdragon 450 is expected to begin commercial sampling to customers in the third quarter, and is expected to be available in consumer devices by the end of 2017.

Snapdragon Wear 1200 Platform
A new wearable chipset – Snapdragon Wear 1200 – was also launched at MWC Shanghai. Successor to the Snapdragon Wear 1100, the chip is meant for Internet-connected wearables, fitness bands, as well as tracker bands for kids, pets, and elders. The size of the chip is 45 percent smaller (79mm) than the predecessor and it supports LTE Cat. M1/NB1 connectivity that allows low-power wearables to enable 4G without using too much battery power. Location features include support for GPS, GLONASS, Gallileo and BeiDou constellations, low power geo-fencing, and Qualcomm Technologies’ cloud based location services with comprehensive global terrestrial positioning using Wi-Fi and cellular service.

The Snapdragon Wear 1200 also features an integrated applications processor for Linux and ThreadX based applications and is scalable to support voice over LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It comes with Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment, a hardware cryptographic engine, hardware random number generator and TrustZone for privacy and security. The Snapdragon Wear 1200 is shipping today, and devices with this chip will arrive in the market in the last two quarters.

Xiaotiancai Z3 kid smartwatch based on Snapdragon Wear 2100
Qualcomm also announced the Xiaotiancai Z3 smartwatch for children running on Snapdragon Wear 2100. One of its key features is that it is swimming-level waterproof, supports 4G multi-mode with bi-directional calling and delivers reliable indoor and outdoor positioning through a combination of Wi-Fi, GPS and 4G location triangulation techniques. The Z3 is based on Android, and is designed to seamlessly communicate with parents’ phones for constant know-how of kids’ whereabouts. The Xiaotiancai Z3 is expected to be available in China in July.

 

WhatsApp Emerges as a Major News Platform, Finds Report

Instant messaging service WhatsApp has emerged as a force to reckon with in news media, apparently at the cost of its owner Facebook, according to a new report.

“We’ve been tracking the growth of WhatsApp for some time but its use for news has jumped significantly in the last year to 15 percent, with considerable country-based variation,” said the authors of the Digital News Report 2017.

Over half of the survey respondents in Malaysia (51 percent) said they used WhatsApp for sharing or discussing news in a given week, as compared with just three percent in the US.

Besides Malaysia, the use of WhatsApp for news is starting to rival Facebook in a number of markets, including Brazil (46 percent), and Spain (32 percent).

The researchers found that the use of Facebook for news has dipped in most of the countries they surveyed.

WhatsApp Emerges as a Major News Platform, Finds Report

This may just be a sign of market saturation, or it may relate to changes in Facebook algorithms in 2016, which prioritised friends and family communication over professional news content, according to the report.

The research, carried out by the Reuters Institute For The Study of Journalism, analysed data from 34 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia, besides Taiwan and Hong Kong. The study involved responses from over 70,000 people.

Overall, around a quarter (23 percent) of the respondents said they now find, share, or discuss news using one or more messaging applications.

The researchers found that Viber is a popular choice in parts of Southern and Eastern Europe, while a range of chat applications are used for news across Asia, including WeChat in Hong Kong (14 percent) and Malaysia (13 percent), Line in Taiwan (45 percent) and Japan (13 percent), while home-grown Kakao Talk (39 percent) is the top messaging app in South Korea.

At a time when the social media platforms are facing criticism for not doing enough to stop the spread of fake news, the report also revealed that only 24 percent of the respondents think social media do a good job in separating fact from fiction, compared to 40 percent for the news media.