Some of the biggest names in tech are absent from CES 2013. Apple, Google, and Microsoft may have skipped the trip to Vegas, but the chips that power (some of) their devices are there in full force. NVIDIA and Intel have already showcased new mobile processors, and tonight it was Qualcomm's turn, as the silicon-maker unveiled its new Snapdragons.

The Snapdragon 800 and 600 represent Qualcomm's latest foray into mobile chips. The current-generation Snapdragon S4 Pro (found in devices like the Nexus 4 and Droid DNA) may be one of the top-performing mobile chips on the market, but the new models will soon make it obsolete.

High performance, low power

Qualcomm labels the Snapdragon 800 as the "premium" model, and the 600 as the "high-end" model. Sporting four Krait 400 cores, which can clock up to 2.3GHz per core, the company boasts that the Snapdragon 800 is "up to 75 percent" faster than the S4 Pro. The 600's four Krait 300 cores, meanwhile, settle for 1.9GHz per core.

Both new chips shift to 28 nm High Performance for mobile (HPm). A move that Qualcomm says will ensure "exceptionally low power," providing the best performance per watt of today's mobile processors.

The 800 chip also supports category 4 LTE, with (theoretical) speeds of up to 150 Mbps.


Both devices are "sampling now," but it may be several months before devices powered by the chips arrive. Qualcomm expects Snapdragon 600 devices in the second quarter of 2013, while we'll have to wait until mid-year for Snapdragon 800 devices.

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