Smartphone chip race is on as Qualcomm goes 4K and MediaTek announces faster rival

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If there is one inescapable fact when buying the latest, greatest tech it’s that whatever you buy today will soon be made obsolete by something launched tomorrow.

Today’s flagship Android devices come with Snapdragon 600 or 800 CPUs. As of today, that’s old hat, as chipmaker Qualcomm unveiled its Snapdragon 805 Ultra HD replacement. This – together with its on-board Adreno 420 GPU – will play 4K video and run at up to 2.5GHz.

But even that may soon pale against the chip announced by rival chipmaker MediaTek (via Engadget) …  Read more

New Chrome Stable release improves battery life and website permission control

Googler Ami Fischman, a self-dubbed “Watt Wrangler”, just announced a new battery-saving Chrome Stable release.

“We recently enabled GPU-accelerated video decoding for Chrome on Windows,” wrote Fischman on the official Google Chrome blog. “Dedicated graphics chips draw far less power than a computer’s CPU, so using GPU-accelerated video decoding while watching videos can increase battery life significantly.”

Fischman noted test results show batteries last 25 percent longer with GPU-accelerated video decoding switched on. So now, Chrome users on Windows can watch more YouTube videos, as Fischman noted, without worrying about dwindling battery life.

Chrome users can even access website permissions, such as geolocation, much more easily with the new release:

This saves you from having to dig through settings pages to find these permissions. Now, simply click on the page/lock icon next to a website’s address in the omnibox to see a list of permissions and tweak them as you wish.

This latest release also includes an option to send a “do not track” request to websites and web services. The effectiveness of such requests is dependent on how websites and services respond, so Google is working with others on a common way to respond to these requests in the future.

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Galaxy S III to run Samsung’s upcoming quad-core Exynos 4412 chip?

Samsung is thought to be at work developing a quad-core chip to power the Galaxy S III, an addition to the Galaxy smartphone family expected to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress which runs February 27-March 1 in Barcelona, Spain. According to PocketNow, based on the source code at kernel.org, the new chip will be marketed as the Exynos 4412 and will feature four processing cores.

Samsung recently launched the 32-nanomenter Exynos 4212 chip with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processing core clocked at 1.5GHz and ARM’s quad-core Mali-400 GPU. Like Apple’s upcoming A6 chip (said to be manufactured by Samsung) and Nvidia’s Tegra 3 silicon, the rumored Exynos 4412 chip should take advantage of the four cores of the Cortex-A9 processor from ARM Holdings. Its closes competitor, however, will be a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core beast allegedly debuting early next year in the HTC Zeta smartphone.

Unlike the Tegra 3 chip which employs Nvidia’s own GeForce graphics processor or Apple’s A6 that is likely to tap Imagination Technologies’ next-generation PowerVR GPU, the Exynos 4412 could use the recently introduced Mali-T658 graphics unit which delivers up to ten times the graphics performance of the Mali-400 GPU and four times the GPU compute performance of the Mali-T604 GPU.

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