Qualcomm outs Snapdragon Voice Activation and Quick Charge 2.0, details Snapdragon 400 and 200 chips

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| February 20, 2013

Qualcomm Snapdragon

Qualcomm gave us the skinny on its new Snapdragon 800 processor at CES last month, touting the quad-core chip's increased power and decreased power consumption over its predecessors. It looks like the new Snapdragon's got a couple more tricks up its sleeve, though, as Qualcomm today announced a couple more features that'll be available with the CPU.

First up is Snapdragon Voice Activation, which allows Snapdragon 800-powered hardware to be awoken with a specific voice command that can be set by a device manufacturer. After uttering the special phrase, the device will wake up (even in standby/airplane mode) and will bring up the product's voice control interface. Qualcomm promises that Snapdragon Voice Activation is a low-power feature, using the least amount of juice possible to listen for the words that it needs to wake a device from its slumber.

The second feature detailed by Qualcomm today is actually a follow-up on something that the company discussed last week. Following the reveal of Quick Charge 1.0, Qualcomm today the successor to that tech, aptly titled Quick Charge 2.0. The company claims that Quick Charge 2.0-capable devices will charge up to 75 percent faster than non-Quick Charge devices, an improvement of the 40 percent faster charging offered by Quick Charge 1.0.

The new Quick Charge 2.0 tech will be integrated into the Snapdragon 800, offered as a standalone solution, and and will also be built into AC/DC wall chargers. Qualcomm says that Quick Charge 1.0 and 2.0 products and chargers can be used interchangeably, but that to get the full benefit of Quick Charge 2.0, users will need to plug a 2.0 device into a 2.0 charger.

Qualcomm expects that devices and chargers with Quick Charge 2.0 support will be made available for purchase by early 2014. The company says that it's currently working with AC/DC chipset suppliers and power supply partners to build Quick Charge 2.0 tech into their products so that Quick Charge 2.0 is built into standard micro-USB wall chargers that will be widely available.

As I've noted before, battery life is always an issue in the world of mobile. While some phones feature beefy batteries that can last all day, not every manufacturer can cram such large juice packs into their devices, so the next best solution is fast charge tech like Qualcomm's Quick Charge. Plugging your phone or tablet in for more power in the middle of your day may not always be ideal, but hey, at least fast charge tech will shorten the amount of time that you're tethered to that wall.

Finally, Qualcomm today has taken the time to fully reveal the Snapdragon 400 and Snapdragon 200 processors that it first announced in January. While the Snapdragon 800 and 600 chips are meant for use in higher-end mobile devices, the Snapdragon 400 and 200 chips are meant for use in mid-range and entry-level hardware. Here's the full rundown on the lower-end members of the new Snapdragon family:

  • Snapdragon 400: Available in either a dual-core Krait variety that can run at up to 1.7GHz per core or a quad-core ARM Cortex A7 option that runs at 1.4GHz per core. The Snapdragon 400 features and Adreno 305 GPU and can support 13.5-megapixel cameras, "premium audio," and both 1080p video capture and playback. The modem tech supported includes TDSCDMA, 42Mbps+ DC-HSPA+, 1x Advanced, W + G CDMA and dual-SIM. The part numbers associated with the 400 are 8226, 8626, 8230, 8630, 8930, 8030AB, 8230AB, 8630AB and 8930AB.

Qualcomm says that there are currently more than 55 Snapdragon 800-powered devices being developed, with the hardware expected to begin hitting store shelves in the second half of 2013. The first Snapdragon 600-equipped hardware is expected to begin showing up in Q2 2013. However, there's no word yet on when we'll begin to see products packing its Snapdragon 400 and Snapdragon 200 chips. Stay tuned and we'll give you a shout once we learn more.

Via Qualcomm (1), (2), (3)