MWC is always a great place to see the latest mobile devices, from smartwatches, to phones, to tablets and beyond. And while complete, commercial products are some of the easiest to get excited about, the expo also manages to bring us news about hot new components – the parts that aren’t ready to start showing up in handsets just yet, but could be instrumental in next-generation models. Today Qualcomm had a few such developments to share with us, including a new Snapdragon processor, some advanced authentication tech, and a platform that will drive the future of its SoC lineup.
That platform is what Qualcomm’s calling Zeroth cognitive processing, a system by which its chips will use intelligent algorithms and sensor data to anticipate user needs. That means using things like computer vision and other techniques for gathering perceptual data, always-on processing and machine learning, and the ability to act on this info in order to stay one step ahead of the user. It all sounds a bit high-concept and fantastical at the moment, but we’re sure we’ll be hearing more about concrete ways Zeroth will make our phones more capable in the months to come.
Now let’s talk hard silicon: Qualcomm’s got a new Snapdragon SoC, the Snapdragon 820. Unlike the 808 and 810, which used off-the-shelf ARM cores, it’s back to custom cores with the 820, introducing the Kyro CPU. The 820 will use both Kyro cores as well as this Zeroth tech, and while we don’t have full details on the chip just yet, initial manufacturer availability should commence later this year.
Finally we learn about Qualcomm’s new fingerprint scanning system, one that ditches capacitive sensors in favor of ultrasonics. By using high-frequency sound waves, Snapdragon Sense ID generates a 3D map of the user’s fingerprint ridges, with what’s supposed to be exceptional accuracy. Maybe most beneficially, Sense ID could work though many different types of phone materials, including some metals, giving OEMs greater flexibility in where they can place fingerprint sensors.