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CES 2014: Qualcomm Snapdragon 802 to power 4K TVs, Snapdragon 602a for connected cars

Qualcomm Snapdragon

Qualcomm has announced two new system-on-chip (SoC) Snapdragon processors, which will power a new wave 4K TVs

Qualcomm has revealed two new system-on-chip (SoC) processors – the Snapdragon 802 and Snapdragon 602a. The former will power the next wave of Ultra HD 4K TVs, while the latter will appear in connected cars.

The Snapdragon 802 will, according to Qualcomm’s Vice President of Marketing Tim McDonough, begin appearing in TVs and set-top boxes from late 2014. It is a derivative of the Snapdragon 800 and will use a 1.8GHz quad-core Krait CPU and Adreno 330 GPU, along with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi to decode and play back native 4K content on compatible sets, as well as boost Smart TV performance and provide multitasking abilities. You should be able to browse the web while streaming a film, or play up to four HD video streams on a single screen.

While we’re excited to see TVs that can handle native 4K content, the Snapdragon 802’s Hollywood Quality Video processing engine may prove more useful until 4K content arrives in any real quantity. It promises to upscale 1080p content to a level “approaching Ultra HD”. The chip should also be able to speed up Smart TV apps too, which still feel sluggish on today’s TVs compared to the average smartphone or tablet.

The Snapdragon 602a, meanwhile, has been designed specifically to power upcoming in-car entertainment systems. It shares specifications with the Snapdragon 600 CPU found in smartphones, but has been tested to conform with automotive standards for temperature and lifespan. It could be used to stream separate video streams to different screens in your car, improve 3D navigation and better support pairing with mobile devices, but more exciting features could be coming in the future.

The chip is technically capable of facial and gesture recognition, so we could be seeing cars that start simply by detecting your face when you sit in the driver’s seat.

Although Qualcomm hasn’t mentioned specific manufacturers, the Snapdragon 602a should begin sampling in the next few months. We’ll have some time to wait until we see the chips in action in our own cars, but hopefully the company will reveal further details at CES this week.