Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Qualcomm

And some smartglasses, too.

By Don Reisinger
January 3, 2017

Qualcomm unveiled several new chips on Tuesday that are mostly focused on what it believes are fast-growth areas.

The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile processor, shown off at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, will be the company’s high-end chip for smartphones, virtual-reality headsets, and mobile computers. It is smaller than Qualcomm’s previous chips, more power efficient, and provides faster Internet connectivity over mobile networks, according to the company.

While Qualcomm QCOM didn’t say which high-end smartphones or tablets might support its new processor, the company did say it will be compatible with Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows operating systems. It also will be used in some upcoming smartglasses, which were previously announced by hardware maker Osterhout Design Group (ODG) and are targeted to consumers.

Smartglasses are an emerging device category with companies like Microsoft and Google jumping into the fray. Considered alternately to be a potentially hot product or a flop after some early efforts failed to catch on, smartglasses let users interact with the world around them while seeing virtual objects overlaid onto the real environment.

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ODG company is working on two smartglasses ,to be shipped by July, that use both virtual reality and augmented reality technology. ODG said in a statement accompanying the Snapdragon 835 announcement that the processor would help those smartglasses deliver better visuals and enhanced performance.

The ODG R-8 AR/VR smartglasses are displayed during a Qualcomm press event for CES 2017.
David Becker — Getty Images

Additionally, Qualcomm said that its processors and LTE modems would be embedded in some Volkswagen cars so they can connect to cellular networks. The first set of Volkswagen vehicles running its Snapdragon 820A processor will start hitting the road in 2019, and those using its other new chips, like the X12 and X5 LTE, will be available in 2018.

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Also, Qualcomm said that it planned to offer high-speed, Gigabit LTE chips for connected cars so they can access the Internet. The LTE chip, which can reach speeds of 1 gigabit per second, or speeds that are dramatically faster than most home Internet connections, will be available to car manufacturers in the first half of 2017.

Chipmakers like Qualcomm and Intel see big opportunities in the connected car market. An increasing number of cars use wireless connections to automatically provide performance information to their manufacturers to help with repairs and upgrades. Connections can also be used to get drivers and their passengers onto the Internet over wireless networks.

Looking ahead, Internet connectivity could prove to be critical for self-driving cars, which must quickly see what other cars are doing and respond accordingly.

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