Qualcomm’s new IoT products
Qualcomm (QCOM) has been making efforts in the IoT (Internet of Things) space by repurposing its Snapdragon SoCs (system-on-chips) for IoT devices. This helped the company earn $1.0 billion in IoT revenues in fiscal 2017. For the first time, the company is bringing a new line of QCS chipsets designed specifically for edge computing devices like smart cameras.
These QCS chipsets would be optimized for edge computing requirements of the image and AI (artificial intelligence) processing capabilities in a power- and space-constrained environment. As IoT now has a dedicated chipset family, it would accelerate product development in this area.
Qualcomm has introduced its first two SoCs in the QCS family—QCS605 and QCS603 to power on-device camera processing and machine learning. These chipsets are built on Samsung’s (SSNLF) advanced 10-nanometer FinFET (fin field-effect transistor) process node. It can power almost all types of smart cameras such as sports cameras, security cameras, wearable cameras, virtual reality 360 and 180 cameras, smart displays, and robots.
Qualcomm’s QCS platform
QCS integrates Qualcomm Vision Intelligence Platform and Qualcomm AI Engine to deliver AI at the edge. Qualcomm AI Engine leverages heterogeneous compute architecture to bring Kryo 300 CPU (central processing unit) cores, Hexagon 685 Vector Processor, and Adreno 615 GPU (graphics processing unit) into a single SoC.
Qualcomm Vision Intelligence Platform includes integrated Spectra 270 ISP (image signal processor) that supports dual-16 MP (megapixel) image sensors and other image technologies. This helps the platform deliver staggered HDR (high dynamic range), advanced electronic image stabilization, chromatic aberration correction, dewarp, de-noise, and motion compensated temporal filters.
The QCS chipsets also support audio functions such as Qualcomm’s 3D Audio Suite, Aqstic Audio Technologies, and aptX Audio technologies. These functions cancel noise and echo enabling natural language processing and speech recognition. The platform also offers SDKs (software development kits) for advanced camera processing, machine learning, and computer vision.
Features of QCS605 and QCS603
The QCS605 features two gold Kryo CPU cores and six silver Kryo CPU cores and delivers 2.1 tera-operations per second of computing performance for AI inferencing. The chip can handle dual image streams—a 5.7K stream at 30 fps (frames per second) or 4K and 1080p stream at 60 fps. The QCS603 features two gold Kryo CPU cores and two silver Kryo CPU cores and can handle 4K and 1080p streams at 30 fps.
The two chipsets have integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1, and GPS (global positioning system) connectivity but no LTE (long-term evolution) connectivity. Qualcomm is sampling the 605 chips with hardware partners and expects the end-devices to launch in 2H18.
Next, we’ll look at Qualcomm’s financial health to understand its ability to fund its expansion in the IoT space.
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