Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon S4 ‘Pro’ Processor


Qualcomm has announced that it will offer a Pro version of the Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 processor to enable even more capable mobile computing devices. The successful Snapdragon S4 class, which has more than 120 OEM designs in development, is already raising the bar on performance and industry benchmarking, as reported in recent product reviews.

The S4 Pro processor features the Adreno 320 GPU, support for higher resolution displays, as well as hardware and software compatibility with the S4 class. The Adreno 320 is a high performance programmable GPU with up to a four times performance improvement, providing a superior user experience for web browsing, games, user interfaces and other graphics applications.

Roberto di Pietro, vice president for marketing and business development, Qualcomm CDMA technologies, told Smart Chimps: 'This is a system on a chip, and we are also enabling the ecosystem around that. Last year we released the Snapdragon SDK; we are a big player in terms of our position in the smartphone segment, so we enable developers to access a huge market.

Continuing, he added: 'We believe there is huge value in an integrated single chip for 2D and 3D graphic engines, GPRS to LTE, and everything; we are helping our customers have more power, efficiency and optimisation. This chip is operator-friendly. We are trying to help the growth of LTE, providing a single chip to our customers that they can then customise, region to region.'

The Adreno 320 also infuses the S4 Pro version with new multimedia capabilities, including computational camera—the ability to tap directly into the computational capability of the Adreno 320 GPU through new APIs like OpenCL, to enable next generation use cases such as light-field cameras for mobile devices.

In support of next generation 3D graphics APIs, Adreno 320 will enable more realistic 3D graphic effects through hardware acceleration of advanced rendering features like instancing, occlusion queries and multiple render targets. Adreno 320 also includes dedicated hardware to accelerate Windows and fully supports the top game engines in the industry from Unity, Epic and others.

'As a result of strong customer demand for Snapdragon S4 processors, we've added a new Pro version of MSM8960 to continue delivering the highest performing mobile processors in the industry,' said Cristiano Amon, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm. 'By delivering the S4 Pro processor in 2012, we are fulfilling our promise that Snapdragon processors will remain the industry's barometer for excellence in mobile computing while helping our customers bring the most innovative smartphones and tablets to market.'

The S4 Pro version of MSM8960 is optimised for the most advanced operating systems, including the highly anticipated Windows 8 system.

'Snapdragon S4 and S4 Pro are designed to enable tablets and notebook devices to deliver the high performance, flexibility, global 3G/4G connectivity and energy efficiency consumers are increasingly demanding,' said Luis Pineda, senior vice president of computing and consumer products, Qualcomm. 'We are excited about the Snapdragon S4 Pro processors' potential for consumers, and about the upcoming Windows 8 platform.'

The S4 Pro processors are expected to come to market in the second half of 2012. Currently, there are more than 340 Snapdragon-based devices commercially available and more than 400 in development.


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