snapdragon

Qualcomm recently unveiled the Snapdragon 810. The reason to care is that Qualcomm’s chips are what’s powering all the mid to high end Android phones — if you have an Android phone, chances are it has a Snapdragon variant. The Snapdragon 810 will be the flagship chipset for phones early next year; the Samsung Galaxy S6, the new HTC One, etc. will all likely have it.

It’s a good sign is that Qualcomm did not spend much time talking up performance improvements. Today’s top phones are already roughly on par with laptops from 2010 in terms of power, and it’s questionable whether more is needed. Phones simply don’t need laptop-level performance — it’s not like you’re going to need CAD on your phone.

Just as netbooks and cheap laptops invaded PCs, so too will low cost phones that are “good enough.” We reviewed one just a few weeks ago (see the Moto G review here) and found it impressive for the price.

In the first few years of mobile, paying premium was worth it because the base experience on cheap phones wasn’t good enough. Buying the iPhone 3GS instead of an iPhone 3G made a big difference for example; whereas you’ll be hard pressed to tell the power difference between an iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S.

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I’ve heard some depressing things as an entrepreneur in the mobile space.

  • This app has too many animations which drains battery, so I don’t use it.
  • Using Wi-Fi drains battery life, so I just rely on 3G.
  • Bluetooth drains a lot of battery life so I turn it off, even though I wear a Fitbit everyday. I just turn it on once a day at home to sync.
  • I don’t download apps because I’m afraid they will kill my battery.

The first is clearly ridiculous, yet came from an intelligent person. Your phone will actually last longer with a stable Wi-Fi connection, and Bluetooth doesn’t drain battery at all unless used. Even then, it’s minimal. The last complaint is such a sad thing for us in the industry to hear.

The fear of running out of battery wields such an extraordinary influence over how we use smartphones. We benchmark every task according to how much battery it takes. We are never too far from a charger, and many of us carry a heavy, cumbersome power bank.

I have good news: we are on the verge of true all day battery life.

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