MWC 2015: Qualcomm unveils Zeroth, coming with Snapdragon 820

Qualcomm has given us a peek at the future of smartphones with the revelation of its Zeroth platform, which will be utilised by the company’s next-gen Snapdragon SoC.

Over at MWC, Qualcomm described Zeroth as a “cognitive computing platform”, and said it would be coming with the Snapdragon 820. Sadly, nothing much was actually revealed about the 820, save that it will use Qualcomm Kryo custom 64-bit CPU architecture, and be based on a “leading edge FinFET process node”.

The Snapdragon 820 will be available for sampling in the second half of this year, and Qualcomm will doubtless be hoping that this is the chip that will get it back into the Samsung Galaxy phones for one thing (with Samsung ditching the Snapdragon 810 and going with its own Exynos octa-core processor with the recently unveiled Galaxy S6 – apparently due to heat issues).

Anyhow, back to the Zeroth platform, which is a blend of hardware and software innovations, and will provide a more intuitive, “natural” experience with a smartphone, Qualcomm boasts.

That means Zeroth-toting phones will recognise gestures for interaction, and even facial expressions, along with speech recognition, and audio recognition – the latter meaning the phone will be able to pinpoint environments it might be in due to background noises, and perhaps take appropriate actions for those environments.

Sound will also be improved with the monitoring of the user’s head movement and expressions being used to adjust surround sound for movies, for example.

Qualcomm also talked about smarter cameras that can recognise different scenes and take higher quality photos, and better security using advanced behavioural analysis to pick up on malware, and improve user authentication.

Better connectivity is also promised into the bargain. Qualcomm stated it would be offering “devices that can provide the fastest connectivity through autonomous optimisation and seamless service across the latest and most advanced LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies.”

That all sounds great, as long as these sort of automated processes work well – and don’t end up adjusting your movie sound so that it seems odd, for example.

Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, explained: “At MWC 2015 we’ll take the first steps towards realising this vision with the Zeroth platform, and set the stage for a new level of intelligence and personalisation for mobile devices.

“Zeroth intelligence will scale across a wide range of implementations from automobiles, wearables, smartphones and client computing and have a learned personalisation that has the ability to transfer across devices and as a consumer upgrade to the next generation.”