After months of somewhat keeping silent, while letting its partners do the talking, Qualcomm is finally speaking out on the issues that have plagued what would have been its star chip for 2015, the Snapdragon 810. Naturally, it’s calling the rumors of the chip overheating as hogwash and based on incomplete data. Of course, it’s pointing the finger at “someone” who has been spreading this rumor to its advantage, without specifically mentioning the one company that stands to profit from the Snapdragon 810’s failure: Samsung.
Of course, Qualcomm won’t speak out against Samsung, at least not directly. Despite being shoved out of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, the two still have a working relationship with respect to Samsung’s other devices. Qualcomm admits that the relationship is like a pendulum, continuously swinging between Qualcomm’s Snapdragons and Samsung’s own Exynos. As bad luck would have it, this time the pendulum moved away from Qualcomm.
Qualcomm claims that there’s no basis to the overheating claims in the first place and it seemed more like a devious ploy to tarnish the Snapdragon 810’s reputation even before it hit the market. Some might claim that there have been early reports of the chip overheating in devices like the LG G FLex2, but Qualcomm counters this by saying that most of those reviews used pre-release hardware units, which still wasn’t fine tuned for commercial release. There have been very little heat complaints from actual retail devices, though HTC did release an update to the One M9 that seemed to hint at addressing performance issues.
As to the strange case of the LG G4 and the Snapdragon 808, Qualcomm also haws an explanation for that. The chip maker claims that both the 810 and 800 were put out at the same time and had very similar features, but they differed in one crucial case: handling 4K content. The Snapdragon 810 was designed with 4K UHD in mind and is optimized for both capturing and displaying such content. The Snapdragon 808, on the other hand, is more oriented towards 2K resolutions only. It can capture in 4K, sure, but it’s memory layout isn’t built for display it. So yes, the LG G4 caters more to display 2K while the G Flex2 handles 4K better.
Qualcomm, however, is hopeful it can turn things around soon, especially with the Snapdragon 820. It’s not going to talk about better heat management, of course. Instead, it is touting Zeroth as the winning feature of the chip. Zeroth is like an active smart assistant embedded into the chip, able to harness the data flowing from a smartphone’s multiple sensors which can, in turn, be used to control the device’s features. like automatically controlling camera settings depending on the environment. This, along with the chip’s SDK that can be used to integrate Zeroth into OEM’s own smart assistants, is what Qualcomm is banking on to get manufacturers like Samsung back into its fold.