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Qualcomm taps Samsung to make next-gen 10nm Snapdragon

Adds bounty to cut bugs in Android updates

By Iain Thomson, 17 Nov 2016

The latest and greatest Snapdragon processor, the 835 due out in the first half of next year, will be made by Samsung and be the first to use the chaebol's 10-nanometer FinFET architecture.

The announcement was made at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Technology Summit in New York and extends the partnership the two firms have had for years now. The 835's reduced-size architecture will give it a 27 per cent performance increase or cut power consumption by 40 per cent, Qualcomm claimed.

"We are excited to continue working together with Samsung in developing products that lead the mobile industry," said Keith Kressin, SVP of product management at Qualcomm.

"Using the new 10nm process node is expected to allow our premium-tier Snapdragon 835 processor to deliver greater power efficiency and increase performance while also allowing us to add a number of new capabilities that can improve the user experience of tomorrow's mobile devices."

Cutting down on the chip size is going to be key for some manufacturers, who are prepared to cut out anything that makes our smartphones and fondleslabs a few extra millimeters thinner. Qualcomm said it was confident that the chip would be a big hit with smartphone makers.

The 835 will also come with Qualcomm's new Quick Charge 4 system, which it is claimed will be able to give users faster and more efficient charging, particularly if they are using fully specified USC Type-C connectors.

"As mobile devices become more capable and feature rich, people tend to use them more. That's why consumer demand and awareness for fast-charging solutions is now at an all-time high," said Alex Katouzian, SVP of product management at Qualcomm.

"Quick Charge 4 addresses that need by providing up to 50 per cent battery charge in roughly 15 minutes or less, so you don't have to spend all day chained to your charging cable."

All this is good news for smartphone makers. Battery life and power are two key issues for consumers, but increasingly so too is security, and Qualcomm has had serious issues with this in the past.

Go through any of the monthly Android security patches issued by Google and you'll find patches for Qualcomm kit. In the most serious cases such flaws have also threatened the full-disk encryption on Android devices, so the firm has decided to do something about it.

Qualcomm has brought in the team at HackerOne to set up a bug bounty program for its Snapdragon line of processors and LTE modems. The firm will offer up to $15,000 for the most serious flaws and although the scheme is limited to experienced hackers at the moment, it is likely to be opened out to others. ®

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