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Qualcomm's Next Snapdragon Sounds Like a Graphics Powerhouse

We already knew that Qualcomm's forthcoming Snapdragon 821 processor was going to be faster than the Snapdragon 820 that powers many high-end phones currently available. But with Qualcomm releasing more details about the processor's graphical prowess, we're getting a better sense of what having a Snapdragon 821 inside will mean for the next generation of smartphones.

Back in July, Qualcomm revealed that the Snapdragon 821 would be 10 percent faster than its predecessor. The Snapdragon 821 will have a top speed of 2.4GHz, up from 2.1GHz.

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But that's not the only thing that's 10 percent faster. In numbers revealed today (August 31) by Qualcomm, the new chip figures to boot up powered devices 10 percent faster and cut app load times by up to 10 percent.

The more impressive improvements may be Snapdragon 820's faster GPU speeds, though. Qualcomm says the Adreno GPU gets a 5 percent speed increase over the Snapdragon 820. That, coupled with the Snapdragon VR software development kit put out by Quaclomm, suggests that the chip maker is focusing on graphics and the increased demands smartphones are making on their processors to handle virtual-reality imagery.

To that end, Qualcomm specifically notes that the Snapdragon VR toolset complies with Google Daydream. That's the phone-centric virtual reality platform Google unveiled at its developer conference earlier this year. Google anticipates a number of phones coming out this fall that will work with Daydream, and it sounds like Qualcomm is pushing for those phones to be powered by its Snapdragon 821 processor.

The new mobile CPU isn't just about graphics performance. Qualcomm is promising a 5 percent boost in power savings. That would not only improve battery life, Qualcomm notes, but it would allow phone makers to continue shrinking the size of phones by using smaller-sized batteries.

So far, we know that the ZenFone 3 Deluxe from Asus has the Snapdragon 821 (even if the phone hasn't hit the U.S. yet). With IFA taking place in Berlin this week, we're hoping a few other phone makers reveal plans that include this souped-up processor.