Qualcomm's newest 'Ultra HD' Snapdragon stings with 4K video for mobile

Blazing speed and 4K video support

Qualcomm Snapdragon 805

Qualcomm has unveiled a new fourth-generation processor capable of supporting 4K video.

At an event in New York, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 805 "Ultra HD" quad-core processor. The new chip is a successor to the current Snapdragon 800 found in many flagship smartphones like the Nexus 5 and LG G2.

The headlining feature of the 805 is that it supports Ultra HD video thanks to a dedicated Adreno 420 GPU. With up to 40% more graphics processing power, the San Diego-headquartered company called it the first mobile processor to offer system-level Ultra HD support plus 4K video capture and playback. It also has enhanced dual camera Image Signal Processors.

Image what nows?

The last feature is a little confusing but according to a Qualcomm rep, the dual image signal processors can be coupled with a single, higher resolution camera.

Alternatively it can support multiple separate cameras to enable stereoscopic 3D, depth, sensing and other capabilities. The Snapdragon 805 can support up to four cameras, giving users multiple options for advanced mobile imaging.

On top of the eye-searing Ultra HD features, each of the new Krait 450's four CPU cores will run up to 2.5GHz and communicate that blazing processor speed through memory at 25.6 GB/second. It's a slight bump up from the Snapdragon 800's 2.3GHz, but Qualcomm is cranking up the speed on everything to make all apps and phones run faster.

Future proofing

Alongside the new processor enhancements, Qualcomm said the Snapdragon 805 will come with two LTE modem options. Qualcomm said the chip can be equipped with a 28nm Gobi MDM9x25 or 20nm Gobi MDM9x35 modem to support LTE carrier aggregation and data rates of up to 150Mbps found on LTE Category 4.

What's more, the processor will support the new incoming "ac" Wi-Fi protocol, which is the latest and fastest Wi-Fi standard after 802.11n.

It might be a little presumptuous to produce a new mobile chip that supports 4K resolutions when Panasonic is the only company to price an Ultra HD 20-inch panel.

However, we expect to see Ultra HD and 4K television sets to make a big show at CES 2014 in the coming months, so maybe Qualcomm's move is perfectly timed.