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Qualcomm leans into cameras, gaming with new flagship smartphone chip



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign on the Qualcomm campus is seen in San Diego, California, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Qualcomm (NASDAQ:) Inc on Tuesday released its new top-tier smartphone chip aimed at premium-priced Android phones with features like sharper photos and graphics than handsets using chips from rivals.

The San Diego, California-based company is the biggest supplier of the chips at the heart of many Android phones, competing against rivals such as Taiwan’s MediaTek Inc and Samsung Electronics (LON:) Co Ltd, which uses Qualcomm chips in some of its phones but self-supplies chips for some models.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip released Tuesday will have similar computing cores to rivals like MediaTek, which this month announced a chip aimed at premium phones. But almost every other part of the chip are custom designed by Qualcomm, including those playing a role in the visual quality of photos and graphics-intensive apps like games.

Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of

mobile, compute and infrastructure for Qualcomm, said the company has been crafting software that will let handset makers tap deeper into those parts of the chip.

“It’s not just saying, I’ve got the biggest CPU and I can hit a benchmark that lasts one minute,” Katouzian told Reuters in an interview. “We have all these capabilities, and it’s really about the user experience. That’s going to make a difference.”

Qualcomm said that more than a dozen phone makers – including Xiaomi Corp, Sony Group Corp and Honor, the brand spun out of Huawei Technologies Group Ltd – have signed up to use the new chips and that phones featuring it will be on the market before the end of the year.

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