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Qualcomm unleashes double-headed Snapdragon

Hot on the heels of Intel's recent Pine Trail revelations, Chipmaker Qualcomm has unveiled the details of its first dual-core chip at Computex, but won't actually show it to anyone.

The Mobile Station Modem MSM8260 and MSM8660 Snapdragon chipsets are currently being shipped to OEMs as we write, but the company is refusing to show reference designs to anyone other than potential customers, according to disgruntled hacks at Engadget.

The chips - which use ARM architecture and will be appearing in a smartphone, netbook or any one of a thousand wannabe iPad clones currently being rushed through R&D by every box builder in the world - run at 1.2GHz and support HSPA+ which is set to take over from 3G in some areas.

Other features built into the chip include GPS, a GPU with 2D and 3D acceleration engines for Open GL ES 2.0 and Open VG 1.1, 1080p video encoding and decoding, a dedicated low-power audio engine, and support for 24-bit WXGA 1,280 x 800 pixel displays.

Rumour has it that the graphics capabilities are based on GPUs licensed from ATI and that firmware will be able to shut off the second core when it's not in use, preserving battery life.