February 27, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Qualcomm surrendered much of the processor hype in 2011 to NVIDIA, which powerered the first wave of dual core devices last year. But the company has since made strides in delivering strong experiences to dual-core phones and tablets with the Snapdragon S4, and that experience will get even better with a retooled version.
At Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon S4 “Pro” processor, an improved processor that will power many of the phones that interest consumers in 2012. The S4 Pro makes strides in the graphics department by including the Adreno 320 GPU that is four times better than the graphics performance seen in the previous S4. That means game developers can develop more creative graphics that will display faster and more detailed on mobile devices. Adreno 320 has better capabilities for 3D graphics and can support game engines like Unity and Epic.
Aside from just providing better graphics, the S4 Pro should enable improved image capture quality for better smartphone cameras, and more efficient computing. People are bound to scoff at devices being “only dual-core” later this year, but the number of cores won’t be as important as the number of hours a phone can last and the rating you’d give the photos you snap. If the S4 Pro can excel in those key areas, a lot of device buyers will be happy.
Qualcomm says that the S4 Pro is in development on more than 120 devices, meaning you’ll see it pop-up on a number of phones and tablets (not all Android, though since this can also support Windows 8). S4 Pro-powered devices will start shipping in the second half of 2012.