If you haven’t upgraded to a smartphone running Qualcomm’s 1 gigahertz Snapdragon processors yet, there’s no rush.
Dual-core models are just arriving, and Qualcomm just announced a quad-core, 2.5 gigahertz beast to arrive in early 2012.
The capabilities of the new APQ8064 processor blur whatever’s left of the line between mobile phones, tablets and PCs.
They also preview what’s coming to smartphones and tablets shown at next January’s Consumer Electronics Show:
— 12 times more power and 75 percent lower power usage than the first Snapdragon.
— Quad-core graphics processor “for a console-quality gaming experience.” (Qualcomm’s chief executive hinted at this during HP’s WebOS launch last week).
— Support for cameras with up 20 megapixel resolution.
— 3-D stereoscopic photo and video capture and playback.
— Full 1080p HD and 3-D video output to large screens, via HDMI.
— Integration with LTE/3G radio modules.
— Support for PC-type DDR3 memory, plus PCIe interfaces and multiple USB ports.
— Support for near-field communication.
Snapdragon processors are used in many of the latest smartphones, but the quad-core model seems aimed at tablets and other mobile computers as much as phones.
Qualcomm’s announcement said it will provide computer makers with a platform “that can meet all of their design configuration needs for tablets and next generation computing and consumer electronic devices.”
This hardware hints at the sort of mobile computers that will use Windows 8, or whatever Microsoft calls its next major operating system. Microsoft announced in January that it’s designing the software to run on this kind of system-on-chip hardware.
With a 2.5 Ghz chipset the size of a matchbook, your next PC may be the size of your phone, and your phone may be more powerful than your current desktop.