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CES 2013: Qualcomm Launches Super-fast Low-Power Snapdragon 800

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CES 2013 keynote features Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 super-chip, along with Guillermo Del Toro and Steve Ballmer

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs introduced a superfast processor, the Snapdragon 800, in a keynote at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, which also featured turns by Microsoft‘s Steve Ballmer, film director Guillermo del Toro and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The new Snapdragon 800 is fast, but the keynote also represented a departure – the first keynote at the leading technology show that hasn’t been given by either Bill Gates or a Microsoft executive. The new chip is 75 percent faster than this years S4 processor, and is already slated to be in some 50 devices. It supports higher definition video using the Ultra HD standard, which is four times the pixels of 1080p resolution. It has a 2.3GHz clock speed and runs LTE Advanced wireless broadband.

jacobs qualcomm snapdragon ces 2013 chipSouped up Snapdragon

“It is the most advanced wireless processor ever built,” Jacobs said, holding the tiny device in front of thousands of CES visitors, before putting it through its paces, with the help of stars and celebrities.

The chip ushers in a new family of chips, with the old S1, S2, S3 and S4 being replaced eventually by the Snapdragon 200, 400, 600 and 800. The 800 which Jacobs showed includes a quad core Krait 400 CPU, an Adreno 330 GPU which doubles the performance of the Adreno 320, a Hexagon v5 DSP and a 4G LTE Cat 4 modem.

As befits a mobile chip, it’s abstemious on power – Jacobs said it does all this on only half the power of its predecessors, so batteries will last longer.

Steve Ballmer bounded ebulliently on stage, as if Microsoft had not abandoned CES this year, and showed the Snapdragon at work in a Windows RT tablet, and in Windows Phone devices.

qualcomm big bird lookalikeMovie director Guillermo Del Toro showed a clip from his forthcoming monsters-meet-giant-robots epic Pacific Rim, which apparently shows a Qualcomm logo somewhere in the flying debris. He also showed a clip from one of his older movies, Blade II, remastered in the new Hyper HD resolution to “jolting” effect.

Movies came up again with Alice Eve, who appears in the forthcoming Start Trek movie Into Darkness. Pressed to share details of the super-secret film she revealed that her character Dr Marcus has a PhD, before moving to a pitch for a Star Trek app.

And to show educational applications, another Qualcomm muppet dressed up for a meeting with Sesame Street’s Big Bird.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu made a surprise video appearance, talking about the use of mobile devices for mobile-health applications, and Jacobs also spoke about the Internet of Things, linking it to the use of Snapdragons in small femtocell devices.

A Nascar racing driver made an appearance along with a Nascar executive (sorry, TechWeekEurope dropped off in that part of the broadcast keynote), and cars returned at the end, as Jacobs was joined on stage by a Rolls Royce powered by Qualcomm’s Halo charging system.

CES 2013 Paul Jacobs Qualcomm keynote

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Microsoft CEO Stevbe Ballmer may have been relegated to a supporting role, but was still as ebullient as ever

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