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Image credit: Reuters/Albert Gea/File Photo

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 is its first 10-nanometer chip

The company says it conforms to Google's Nougat specs for USB Type-C.
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Reuters/Albert Gea/File Photo

Qualcomm has unveiled its next-gen Snapdragon 835 flagship SoC (system on a chip) and confirmed rumors that it will be built by Samsung using its 10-nanometer FinFET process. Compared to the current 14-nanometer Snapdragon 821 (also built by Samsung), the new processor packs 30 percent more parts into the same space, yielding 27 percent better performance while drawing up to 40 percent less power, the company says. It also improved the design, which will yield "significant" improvements to battery life

Other companies, including Intel and TMSC, are working on 10-nanometer chips, but Samsung said it's the first to start building them. Samsung VP Jong Shik Yoon says "this collaboration is an important milestone for our foundry business," and no doubt a shot of good news to distract from Samsung's smartphone problems. Qualcomm expects devices with the first Snapdragon 835 processors, possibly including Samsung's Galaxy S8, to arrive in the first half of 2017. It reportedly has a Snapdragon 830 coming too, but is still mum about that SoC.

The new chip comes with Quick Charge 4, which supports 20 percent faster charging than Qualcomm's last-gen tech. That, the company says, will give you up to five hours of extra battery life with just a five minute charge. In just 15 minutes, it'll give Snapdragon 835 phones a half-full battery.

The system uses its "INOV" (Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltge) tech, and says the tech is compatible with Google's new guidelines for USB Type-C charging. Google previously said that Qualcomm's Quickcharge 3.0 was not, in effect, compatible with its Nougat specs (above). Mountain View was trying to avoid multiple charge standards that could make it easy to plug the wrong charger into a phone and possibly fry it, or worse, cause a fire or explosion. For instance, OnePlus released a cable that works fine on the OnePlus 2 but can damage other phones or chargers.

However, Qualcomm says its system has "advanced safety features for both the adapter and mobile device." It can gauge current, voltage and temperature to safeguard the battery, cables and connectors. "An additional layer of protection is also being added to help prevent battery overcharging and regulate current throughout every charge cycle," its press release notes.

The addition of "compatibility with USB Power Delivery" means that it should meet Google's compatibility specs. That's a good thing, as Google said it may take a harder line on future releases. "While this is called out as 'STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.' in future Android versions we might REQUIRE all type-C devices to support full interoperability with standard type-C chargers," its spec says (emphasis theirs).

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