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Qualcomm Details Features On The New Hexagon 680 DSP

August 24, 2015 - Written By Diego Macias

It is no secret that Qualcomm has been struggling as their latest high-end offering, the Snapdragon 810, failed to impress in terms of performance and there were some reported issues of the way the processor handles its temperature when using some intensive apps. Qualcomm has officially announced the Snapdragon 820 that will power some flagships next year, as it will be available in early 2016. We know some aspects like the Adreno 530 GPU and the Spectra ISP that would improve the imaging features of smartphones. The company will keep releasing bits of information of what to expect with this new processor and today they communicated some benefits of the new integrated Hexagon 680 DSP (Digital Signal Processor).

A DSP is a part or the processor that is used to get tasks, including voice, image and video processing faster and with less power consumption of the CPU. The Nexus 5 already has a Hexagon DSP and it was used to double the battery life while playing MP3 files. The new Hexagon 680 DSP includes a specially designed part called “low power island” which improves the battery life when using some sensors that are working all the time, even when the phone is locked, such as step or activity counters or all the sensors that provide an accurate location when the GPS signal is not very strong.

Another part of the Hexagon 680 DSP is the HVX (Hexagon Vector eXtensions), which will be used to improve imaging paired with Qualcomm Spectra camera ISP. It will be particularly useful when taking low-light photographs or even videos, as the new processor will use the ISP and DSP to brighten some areas that would normally appear dark. This will also be useful in some augmented-reality or virtual-reality apps that the company includes in its “computer vision” feature. Plus, battery life would be vastly improved as the new DSP was engineered to do this process as much as three times faster and it would only use 10% of the power compared to previous versions. We will get to know more about the components of the Snapdragon 820 processor until it is finally launched later this year.