Trying to perhaps avoid a large media backlash, Qualcomm has rather silently announced its decision to not push through with its Snapdragon 802 processor. This statement comes just a month after the chip maker unveiled at CES 2014 the chip that will drive its formal venture into the realm of Smart TVs.
At the beginning of the year, Qualcomm revealed a new Snapdragon chip that is designed specifically for a Smart TV scenario. From a raw numbers point of view, this chip sounds almost under-powered compared to the current Snapdragon 800 or even the newer Snapdragon 805, running with a quad-core processor clocked at just 1.8 GHz and the same Adreno 330 GPU as the other two.
Of course, the selling point of the chip is video and audio output and connectivity and here the Snapdragon 802 wasn’t aiming to disappoint. It was touted to be capable of playing up to four HD videos on the same TV as well as stream them to other connected devices. The chip was also built to allow concurrent use, making it possible to play games, make video calls, and surf the web all at the same time. It also boats of Dolby Digital and DTS audio systems, dual 802.11ac wireless connectivity, and a host of other input/output options you’d typically see in Smart TVs and set-top boxes.
Unfortunately, Qualcomm has analyzed the situation and concluded that the market isn’t really interested in a dedicated Smart TV chip. According to the company PR,
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. has decided not to commercialize the recently announced Snapdragon 802 processor as the overall demand for processors uniquely designed for smart TVs has proven to be smaller than anticipated.
This might sound rather strange considering it has only been a few weeks since Qualcomm was bragging about this chip in Las Vegas and it usually takes months, if not years to design as well as study the feasibility of such a chip. But is perhaps indeed better this way. Qualcomm has other chips, namely the Snapdragon 800 and 805, that can also be retrofitted, if not augmented, with the necessary parts to power the next generation of Smart TVs.