OnQ Blog

Wireless USB Connection with Snapdragon USB Over Wi-Fi

Sep 30, 2013

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Imagine the convenience of being able to connect wirelessly to all the USB peripherals of your choice using your mobile device. That would open up a lot of possibilities. With devices powered by next generation Snapdragon processors next year, you will be able to do just that with what we call Snapdragon USB Over Wi-Fi.

Snapdragon USB Over Wi-Fi is designed to facilitate robust Wi-Fi connections to legacy USB peripherals virtually everywhere you go, from your office, to your car, to your home entertainment system. It is doing this initially by wirelessly connecting a USB host in the mobile device to a Wi-Fi serial bus (WSB) hub that has a wired (legacy) connection to USB peripherals. (See “1. Centralized” below.)

Diagram of Centralized and Mobile Centric systems enabled by Snapdragon USB over Wi-Fi.

Diagram of Centralized and Mobile Centric systems enabled by Snapdragon USB over Wi-Fi.

As the wireless USB ecosystem evolves and as more peripheral vendors opt to include Wi-Fi Serial Bus components in their peripherals, direct wireless connection from your mobile device will be possible; there will be no need to go through a WSB hub. (See “2. Mobile Centric” above.) 

Snapdragon USB Over Wi-Fi is designed to eliminate the need for USB connectors on mobile devices themselves, which is of great benefit to consumers and manufacturers, given the limited real estate for mini USB connectors on smartphone form factors in particular.

Another advantage of Snapdragon USB Over Wi-Fi is that it is designed to enable the reuse of existing USB class drivers typically provided by operating system vendors. This minimizes interoperability testing for various classes of devices; e.g., Audio, Video, HID, Mass Storage, Media Transfer Control, etc. And this enhances the likelihood of adoption of WSB by vendors of USB peripherals.

As part of the Wi-Fi Alliance, Qualcomm Technologies has not only contributed to the Wi-Fi Serial Bus standard, but is driving the WSB standard and technology into the mobile space.

For the latest information on commercially available Snapdragon processors and all the features they support, please visit Snapdragon.com.

Brent Sammons

Senior Manager, Marketing

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Snapdragon

Snapdragon Wear 2100 powers high-end fashion smartwatches at Baselworld

Silicon Valley met Switzerland at this year’s Baselworld, the world’s premier event for the watch and jewelry industry, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. Several impressive smartwatches made their debut, all touting the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 Platform and all powered by Android Wear 2.0. With this reliable platform and OS developed specifically for wearables, it’s no wonder high-end brands are looking beyond basic wearable functions, and combining style with technology to develop chic smartwatches fit for any lifestyle.

The superior SoC for smartwatches, Snapdragon Wear 2100, is an integrated, ultra-low power sensor hub. It’s 30 percent smaller than previous-generation wearable SoCs, allowing OEMs the freedom to develop thinner, sleeker product designs. And because it uses 25 percent less power than its older sibling (the Snapdragon 400), watchmakers can offer even more features and better designs.

The Snapdragon Wear 2100 comes in both tethered (Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) and connected (3G and 4G LTE) versions. The latter allows wearers to do more with their wearables, from streaming music to sending messages to calling a cab, in tandem with — or even without — having to bring their smartphones along.

Each of the touchscreen smartwatches included in this roundup run Android Wear 2.0, Google’s latest wearable operating system, and can pair with both iOS and Android phones. With Android Wear 2.0, users can personalize their watch faces with chronometer-style complications and create shortcuts to their favorite applications. In addition to the pre-installed Google Fit and calendar apps, more apps can be downloaded directly through the on-watch Google Play store, so wearers can customize their device to their lifestyle.

Android Wear 2.0 brings the Google Assistant to your wrist. Find answers and get things done even when your hands are full. Reply to a friend, set a reminder, or ask for directions. Just hold the power button or say “OK Google”.

Check out the some of Snapdragon Wear powered smartwatches that made a splash at this year’s Baselworld:

Apr 18, 2017

OnQ

Qualcomm Technologies leading the pack to help make 600 MHz mobile devices a reality

The FCC recently announced the end of bidding in the auction of the 600 MHz spectrum and that the results will be released soon. Qualcomm Technologies is ready for the much-awaited deployment of 600 MHz spectrum. We have been involved in the FCC proceedings from the beginning to ensure that the band plan was technically optimal and could be efficiently incorporated into products in a timely and cost effective manner.

This prime, low-band spectrum will bring greater capacity and improved coverage to mobile operators’ networks — important benefits for consumers — but it also comes with new antenna design challenges for OEMs, because it stretches the range of frequencies supported in mobile devices, such as smartphones, to new extremes at the low end of the radio spectrum.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE modem and RF transceiver have been designed with 600 MHz band capability. Our advanced RF Front End (RFFE) technologies, such as dynamic antenna tuning, are designed to minimize the OEM design impact in extending their devices’ frequency range to operate in the 600 MHz band without having to increase antenna size or compromise RF performance. In the evolution towards 5G, dynamic antenna tunability will be critical in accommodating the rapidly expanding frequency range of antennas in mobile devices while minimizing the impact on their form factors.

We are working closely with operators and OEMs to facilitate early launches of 600 MHz-capable 4G multimode/multiband devices, incorporating our industry-leading modem, transceiver, and RFFE technologies as part of our Snapdragon mobile platforms.

Apr 5, 2017
Developer

Heterogeneous Computing: An architecture and a technique

If you’re looking to create great mobile experiences, optimization isn’t optional: it’s a crucial step that helps transform good ideas into great execution. In our previous “Start Cooking with Heterogeneous Computing Tools on QDN” blog, we discussed the concept of heterogeneous computing and how it can help you get more from mobile hardware by sending computational tasks to the best suited processor. Heterogeneous computing is designed to help you achieve better application performance while improving thermal and power efficiency.

However, not all systems capable of heterogeneous computing are created equal and it’s important to understand why. Heterogeneous computing is both a computational technique and a hardware architecture. To achieve greater benefits, you are better served with hardware architected for heterogeneous computing from the ground up along with a software stack that facilitates heterogeneous computing techniques. It’s the combination of purpose-built hardware and a software stack offering granular control within a larger framework of system abstraction that allows for the deep optimizations that heterogeneous computing can deliver.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform is designed on these principles. This starts with the microarchitecture – the choices made in platform circuitry that include how individual processors are engineered for high performance and how to optimize compute paths between the processors. Let’s look at the main components of the Snapdragon mobile platform and a few of the microarchitecture considerations that went into its design:

Qualcomm Kryo 280 CPU

Designed to handle complex workloads like web browsing and in-game artificial intelligence, the Kryo 280 features an octa-core processor with independent high efficiency and high performance core clusters. During normal operation, the high efficiency cores run most tasks while the high-performance cores activate for anything needing more power.

Qualcomm Hexagon 682 DSP

With the Hexagon wide Vector eXtensions (HVX), the Hexagon DSP excels at applications requiring heavy vector data processing, such as 6-DOF (or Degrees of Freedom) head motion tracking for virtual reality, image processing, and neural network computations. With a 1024-bit instruction word capability and dual execution of the control code processor and the computational code processor within the DSP, Hexagon can achieve breakthrough performance without draining system power.

Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU

Ideal for arithmetic-heavy workloads that require substantial, parallel number crunching like 3D graphics rendering and camcorder image stabilization, the Adreno GPU is engineered to achieve improved power efficiency and 40% better performance than predecessors. Designed to deliver up to 25% faster graphics rendering and 60x more display colors compared to previous designs, the Adreno GPU supports real-life-quality visuals, and can perform stunning visual display feats like stitching together 4K 360 video in real time.

Heterogeneous computing in microarchitecture design

Beyond the performance enhancements among the individual processors, the Snapdragon mobile platform was designed to optimize the use of the processors together. For example, the Hexagon DSP can bypass DDR memory and the associated data shuffling CPU cycles by streaming data directly from sensors to the DSP cache. Similarly, the Adreno GPU supports 64-bit virtual addressing, allowing for shared virtual memory (SVM) and efficient co-processing with the Kryo CPU. These are just two of the microarchitecture design choices in the Snapdragon mobile platform that make it cutting-edge for heterogeneous computing.

Software

As we noted at the beginning of this post, heterogeneous computing is also a technique. And to truly support heterogeneous computing requires a software stack that provides developers the abstractions and the control to leverage the optimizations in the hardware per the requirements of their application.

To program the DSP or the GPU for heterogeneous computation, and to maximize their performance, developers can use the Qualcomm Hexagon SDK and the Qualcomm Adreno SDK, respectively. These SDKs open a toolbox of controls allowing for precision manipulation of data and computational resources.

For system-wide heterogeneous computing control, Qualcomm Symphony system manager SDK provides the software utilities designed to achieve better performance and lower power consumption from the Snapdragon mobile platform. Symphony is designed to manage the entire platform in different configurations so that the most efficient and effective combination of processors and specialized cores are chosen to get the job done as quickly as possible, with minimal power consumption.

On top of these SDKs it is possible for developers to build their applications directly – many developers opt for this route. However, there is a growing ecosystem of SDKs, frameworks and supporting libraries for accelerating development within a given application domain. Two examples of this are QDN's Adreno SDK for Vulkan for the Vulkan graphics API and our recently released Snapdragon VR SDK.

How to Put Heterogeneous Computing Techniques into Practice with Tools from Qualcomm Developer Network

Mar 23, 2017