Snapdragon 805 (Adreno 420 GPU) video demos show what late 2014 Android devices will do

by: Chris SmithJanuary 2, 2014

qualcomm snapdragon booth (1)

Qualcomm has recently unveiled the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 flagship system-on-chip (SoC) that will equip various devices later this year, and the company showcased the powers of the new chip to a publication.

Engadget visited Qualcomm’s headquarters and was shown what the new SoC can do. Using a developer tablet packing a 2560 x 1440 display, the Snapdragon 805 CPU and new Adreno 420 GPU, dual cameras with 3D sensors and surround sound, the company has shown off several new features of its latest creations including camera apps, 3D rendering, graphics efficiency and 4K video playback (to see the four videos check out the Source link at the end of this post).

The Snapdragon 805 will come with support for advanced photo managing. The UbiFocus app will let users actively change the focus in pictures, no matter what camera was used to take them. Furthermore, the Optizoom app sharpens a particular area of an image, while Chromaflash enhances images by “fusing” flash and natural light.

When hooked up to a 3D display or monitor, the processor can make use of the Adreno 420 GPU – which offers 40% more graphics performance than its predecessor – and stream an impressive eight different feeds of 3D video, offering viewers “an ideal viewing experience no matter where” they are in the room.

The power of the Adreno 420 GPU is further detailed in a third video, which reveals that the GPU can offer support for hardware tessellation, or additional geometry that will significantly improve graphics. Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 805 will be able to offer console-like performance in games, while remaining efficient when it comes to power consumption.

Finally, one other important feature of the Snapdragon 805 CPU is support for 4K video recording and playback. The processor offers hardware 4K HEVC (high efficiency video coding) support, which means it can “decode and stream high-quality video without using much power.”

At this point however, it’s too early to tell what will be the first Android devices to pack such a powerful mobile processor.

  • apianist16

    Hope it doesn’t take 8 months to get it out to the general public like it did with the 800. This chip looks like a beast, and I can’t wait to see exactly what it can do, how it performs in real-world scenarios, etc.

    • Marsg

      Did you read the title of the article: “Late 2014”
      Either way the 800 is still pretty darn powerful, no hiccups on my note 3 on 4.3, can’t wait for 4.4.

      • stucrmnx120fshwf

        Not on my KK 4.4.2, Nexus 5 either, love that 3GB RAM and UD record, on Note 3 though.

    • Roberto Tomás

      that’s my thought exactly. Even if this took 3 months to come to market they wouldnt be too late… but near 12 months down the road and … it is going to be roadkill

  • Melad360

    if it’s gunna come out in late 2014 and probably get matched or beaten by apples next custom chip (come on don’t lie to yourself guys, the a7 is a hell of a chip at only 1.3ghz), might as well forget about it and work on a flagship 64bit cpu (cuz by then some android phone might have 4gb of ram, and maybe the next android update with new n7 will have 64bit support :D). hopefully this can at least match the a7 in single threaded performance. the 800 is plenty fast enough though

    • Roberto Tomás

      I think the same thing about the next Ford Mustang. Ford makes a killer mustang, but everyone knows Apple’s mustang is even better.

      • john

        Sorry let’s see your a7 chip multiple apps running consecutively on the same screen. Oh wait… Tooooo bad your “superior” chip is limited by it’s “superior” os.

    • stucrmnx120fshwf

      Great, too bad iPhone 5s, only has 1GB RAM, the future is 14 nm, 64 bit, 4/6 GB GRAM, 7″ UD 4k.

      • Melad360

        I’m pretty sure the future of phones isn’t going to be 7 inches.. that would be a tablet lol

        • stucrmnx120fshwf

          Mind you, Sammy says 4k smartphones, in 2015, they’ll be 5, 5.5″, ;-). PS Sammy spent $10,000,000,000 on 14 nm, 14 bn to be spent on advertising in 2014.

          • Melad360

            yeah 4k by all means, I’m just saying I don’t think phones in the future are going to be 7 inches :p but damn that’s crazy

          • stucrmnx120fshwf

            Maybe 6″, sometimes my Nexus 7 FHD 32 GB seems a bit large in my handhand, my Nexus 5 FHD 32 GB seems slightly too small, :'( . lol.

          • Melad360

            I say g2 is the best size personally lol

  • azq

    Wow, sounds like I may have to finally upgrade by original nexus when this new tech is out on new tablets.

    • telco

      i’ll just wait for a deca or dodeca core that can play holographs like the holonet in starwars

    • stucrmnx120fshwf

      I’ve got N5+7 FHD, but I upgraded my sisters N7 32 GB original to KK 4.4.2, even 12 GPU’s and HD is pretty good, but 192 GPU K1 would be better.

  • renz

    just to confirm. the tittle says ‘late 2014’. does it mean snapdragon 805 will be qualcomm top chip for 2014? no new Krait? adreno 430(?)

    • Jayfeather787

      I think so.

    • Roberto Tomás

      I guess everybody runs out of steam…

  • telco

    its funny at the same time.. annoying… a powerful device comes on sale.. you research on reviews about it… then once your decided to purchase that device new’s comes in that an upcoming device is more powerful than what you plan to buy. your stuck thinking if you should go ahead and purchase the device or wait for the new one. if you decide to buy the new one.. after a month you get dissapointed ‘coz a newer device comes out w/ a more powerful spec

    • stucrmnx120fshwf

      This comes to devices in late 14, your fairly safe buying something like a Nexus 5 now, Sammy GS 5 comes out in April. But it is unlikely to be 14nm, might be 64 bit, might have more RAM, might have more pixels. Late in the year is when the really advanced stuff is coming.

    • jeff

      This is what is called rapid development in technology. Its been like that for years and will continue to be like that. Remember desktop PCs were almost obsolete 6 months after you plunked down 2 grand. JMO….

      • stucrmnx120fshwf

        This year and next, we will rapidly advance, then we will hit a technological economic brick wall, like computers did in 2000. Until we can make significant changes, like using micro Faraday cages, for 3D honeycombs of C/GPU, RAM, flash. We’ll move to optical computing, to beat the bottleneck of physics, we’ve made good advances there recently, in terms of practicality, but it might stump us for a while.

        • ualogic

          Well… computers have hit this brick wall already. What is the difference in power between the 1995 and 2000 processors? something like 1000 times? and between 2009 and 2014? something like 5-10 times. If you are not into hardcore gaming or calculations, it doesn’t even matter. Mobile processors kinda hit that wall too. Buy something decent today and use it till your mobile screen and battery got wrecked. You will have enough power. However, I personally will wait for 20nm :P.

          • stucrmnx120fshwf

            Damb this log in again, I give you my username and password and you reject it again, sick and tired of sites that don’t work.

  • Roberto Tomás

    the thing is, I think you are going to be seeing devices that can do all that (3d audio/video, 1440p, 4k video playback) at CES, why wait until ARMv8 is dominating the market to buy this very late processor from Qualcomm?

  • mustbepbs

    Still don’t understand this graphics push. Nobody is going to make console quality games with an audience that consists of the people who bought the newest devices. That’s the problem with mobile gaming: everyone has a different device with different power. If you make a game that really pushes the envelope, you’re severely limiting your audience. Not only that, but it costs a lot of money to create these super realistic looking games, and the returns can’t be that great on mobile unless you charge console-like prices or fill it to the brim with IAP.

    And that’s not even getting into the fact that you can’t create tight controls with on screen buttons, and you can’t expect everyone to have a controller, ESPECIALLY with Apple’s third party controllers costing $99. Mobile gaming isn’t going anywhere beyond Candy Crush and Tiny Tower.

    • Cole Raney

      PC does a fine job with different hardware. You can make graphics settings. Slower phones could be set to low graphics, while the fastest phones can be set to the highest setting.

      • mustbepbs

        That just involves more work, though. That’s my point. Even Square Enix doesn’t do much beyond a straight DS port and STILL charges $15 with all the work basically done.

    • renz

      yup pushing for better performance or graphic is not bad but IMO in mobile phones or tablet such raw performance are wasted. most people don’t expect their phone or tablet to be heavy gaming device. and with app store filled tons of freemium games it becomes much more harder for developer to create console grade quality games for phones and tablet (both in graphic and content).

    • Anthony Guillen

      That’s the purpose of tessellation, higher resolutions and higher quality textures.

      Geometry has to be simplified to run smoothly on most systems but can be scaled up with hardware tessellation as shown in video 3.

      Higher resolutions are a great way to improve the visual quality of content even if the content was originally designed for a lower resolution. Any potential UI issues can be easily corrected through patch releases (as any good developer already does).

      Higher resolution textures are usually intentionally converted to lower resolutions by the content creator to use less internal memory and improve performance on lower RAM devices. For higher RAM devices, original (or near original) resolution textures can be downloaded as was done with Skyrim and it’s high resolution texture pack.

      These are just 3 examples of scalable improvements that would not (or negligibly) increase the cost of game development, and can potentially be implemented retroactively. Keep in mind, all of these methods are already used today, just not that much in phones.

      • renz

        for pc or dedicated console (home and handheld) that’s not a problem. but we are talking for games that will be created for phones or tablet. the market isn’t the same. thanks to freemium and the people mindset that did not want to spend big dollar (or not spending any at all) for on-the-go games the competition is stiff for mobile games developer. not that i did not like the advancement but all the effort to give better hardware are wasted when most software or developer are not even thinking to fully utilize it because of their target market making them hard to do so. well at the very least we have good hardware now and i hope more console games get ported for mobile phones or tablet.

        also it seems to me that that some of this SoC maker want their chip to win synthetic benchmark for the sake of spec racing that phone/tablet maker are having right now. did they really care for gaming aspect of their SoC so developer can optimized their game/code for their SoC? i read something interesting here:

        • Anthony Guillen

          Nice link! I agree that the market is different right now, but I think the reason is because phone gaming started with games like snake due to lower specs and unavoidable time to burn. I’m pretty sure if phones have the specs for it, people will opt into far higher levels of mobile gaming. To give you an example, there’s a game on the play store called N.O.V.A. 3. There are many others, but this one came to my mind first. It has 39,705 purchases for a price of $6.99 a pop. This would put the developers at $277,537 and this is a mobile game! Then you have Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour whose developers should be raking it in at $527,989. There would be more users, but not everyone has a phone that can handle. These kind of games are great for long drives, flights, or even just being in a waiting room. I play games like this all the time, the downside for me is the performance often sucks even though I’m rockin’ a Galaxy S3. Performance is a deterrent for me and ends up being the only real reason I stick to PC gaming mostly. Remember though, this is just the gaming side of things. There’s a whole realm of possibilities with mobile computing power like this! Don’t give up hope. If you supply the tools, the world will find a use for them ^.^

          • stucrmnx120fshwf

            Agreed, with px pr in this year, meaning 7″ 4k UD, we will need all this power and more. 14 nm, 64 bit, 4/6 GB RAM, Adreno 420, or K1, is enough for UD play and record, but may not be enough for UD gaming. At first we will have to downshift to half the pixels, I love Riptide 2’s water simulations. Real Racing’s realistic graphics on my FHD screen, are beautiful. Sure it takes up 1 GB of flash, but so what, my Nexus 5 and 7 both have 32 GB flash, 2 GB RAM. I have 2 HD movies, 1 SD, 5 full screen FHD clips, apps, games and their still half empty.

            Mobile devices avoid the bloatarama of the desktop, so were abandoning the desktop. Projects Butter and Svelte aimed for speed/reliability and lower not higher hardware demands to free the hardware up, to do it’s magic.

          • renz

            lol i own both game but i never finish both because of i don’t like how gameloft touch control were for both game. i played dead trigger as well but i found that i prefer the control scheme on dead trigger more. (dead trigger 2 even have much more simple control similar to The Conduit).

            to be honest when nvidia come up with the shield i was hoping to see more developer to make premium games with real content instead of the usual freemium we get. but i think nvidia also aware about the market situation for android gaming. that’s why with tegra K1 they talk a lot about porting existing title to android. depending on the games this might be much easier to do than making a new game from the scratch. also since this game already making profit on console or pc they can price the game more reasonably to compete better in the land of android.

            but in the end nvidia just one company. they like to hype their tegra (tegra 2 and tegra 3 are disappointing but tegra 4 are quite good) but as far as gaming is concern i see only nvidia are really serious about it and encourage game developer to take advantage of SoC processing capabilities.

  • Reflex Era

    Lol I wish we had the technology to put a i7 4770k or an AMD fx8350 in a phone then we could finally have the god specifications of a PC in our pockets…. One day…One day soon

    • Keith MacDonald


  • Ciprian Stanciu

    Instanced Tesselation is a driver feature possible with OpenGL ES 3 meaning it should work with Adreno 320 and 330, but Qualcomm currently has buggy drivers (reported since August 2013) that make these shaders crash on these GPUs. It’s good to know it’ll work on the 420 but why not release those drivers for 320/330 too ? Qualcomm, you marketing beast !

    • The Truth

      Cirprian, you’re getting confused. Hardware Tesselation is NOT possible with even the newest OpenGL ES 3.x see this link:
      It is instead a new hardware feature in Qualcomm’s Adreno 4x family of GPUs, starting with the Adreno 420 in Snapragon 805 and beyond that could be exposed by either desktop OpenGL 4 and DirectX 11 (feature level 11) driver depending on what Qualcomm wants to do. There is speculation that later this year there will be new API extensions to OpenGL ES to allow for use of hardware tessellation on Android.
      So this has nothing whatsoever to do with buggy drivers or marketing bs – it is simply a new technology for mobile that came down from the desktop and console that should eventually allow for more advanced games within mobile power and memory budgets.