Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon chip raises multimedia stakes

Qualcomm shares more details about the Snapdragon chip used in HP's TouchPad tablet

Qualcomm on Thursday announced its latest Snapdragon tablet processor, which includes multimedia features that could raise the standards of entertainment capabilities provided by tablets.

The new APQ8060 dual-core processor could bring full 1080p high-definition video, 3D gaming and 16-megapixel cameras to tablets, Qualcomm said in a statement.

The product was briefly mentioned on Wednesday during the launch of Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad tablet, which is based on this processor. The tablet, however, includes only a 1.3-megapixel camera.

The processor CPUs run at 1.2GHz, but the company declined to comment about how much power the chip draws. Qualcomm has integrated its fastest graphics processor to date inside the chip.

There is a need to include faster processors and graphics capabilities as usage of high-definition gaming and video rises on mobile devices. Qualcomm said it has enabled more than over 100 games to work on its graphics processor.

Qualcomm primarily competes with Nvidia and Texas Instruments in the tablet market.

TI this week announced its fastest tablet chip to date. The chip is based on TI's new OMAP 5 chip design, which could enable stereoscopic 3D and gesture recognition on devices like smartphones and tablets. The OMAP 5 chip is the first to be based on Arm's Cortex-A15 processor design, which is aimed at devices ranging from smartphones and tablets to servers. The OMAP 5 chip succeeds OMAP 4, which will be used in Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet, which should ship by the end of this quarter.

Nvidia's Tegra 2 chip is the market leader, and is being used in tablets from companies like Motorola, Toshiba and Asus.

Qualcomm is also planning to release another dual-core Snapdragon chip, the MSM8960 chip, which will be integrated into an LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G modem.

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