Android Developers Can Now Better Leverage The Power Of Snapdragon

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Unless you're one of the few owners of an Nvidia Tegra powered Android device, you're probably using a Qualcomm processor. The company's recent line of Snapdragon S4 processors operate as a system-on-a-chip and can be somewhat difficult to develop for. Qualcomm realizes this and is now making efforts to make it easier for developers to get the most out of the system.

Qualcomm announced the availability of the Snapdragon SDK at the Uplinq Developers Conference yesterday. The SDK is the only way developers will be able to access the powerful features that Snapdragon makes available like facial processing and surround sound recording.

"The most powerful applications in mobile are those that are tightly integrated with the underlying hardware," said Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services and the company's senior vice president for software strategy. "Qualcomm is always striving to enable developers and device makers to differentiate their offerings via the unique capabilities found in its industry-leading Snapdragon mobile processors. With the Snapdragon SDK for Android, developers and manufactures can now more easily utilize these features as they work to set their products apart in a crowded ecosystem."

The current SDK is only available for the Snapdragon S4 8960 processor. If you recall Qualcomm's announcement of splitting the S4 into four tiers, the 8960 is part of the Plus line for high-powered phones and tablets. Qualcomm expects the SDK to launch for other processors in the future, but keeping it with the most powerful of devices will encourage developers to go all out.

Here's what Android developers can look forward to utilizing in their smartphone apps with the Snapdragon SDK:

  • facial processing, such as blink and smile detection, which makes it easier to take better pictures of people in groups
  • burst capture, which leverages zero shutter lag to photograph a stream of images at once to select the best shot
  • surround sound recording for better audio capture
  • hardware echo cancellation for better real-time audio experiences
  • sensor gestures (tap-left/tap-right, push/pull, face-up/face-down, tilt) that enable developers and device makers to push the envelope on new, differentiated user interfaces
  • low power always on geofencing capabilities
  • indoor location that enables apps to continue providing accurate location information even when the user is indoors.
  • This is a great move on the part of Qualcomm to compete with Nvidia's own Tegra. Nvidia is super supportive of developers and gives them all the tools they need to fully take advantage of the power of the Tegra 3 processor when making games. With the Snapdragon S4 SDK, Qualcomm is obviously hoping that developers start crafting equally unique experiences on the wider range of phones that use S4 processors.

    Consumers have a lot to gain here as well since apps will start to become more sophisticated. Being able to access all the power that's within the processor will open up Android development even further. I'm sure people are already milling over ideas of how to bring PC-level apps to Android with the extra features and powers granted to them.

    If you're an Android developer and want to start developing for Snapdragon processors, you can grab the preview SDK from Qualcomm right now. It's still in preview so don't expect all the features just yet. The full version will be launching in the coming months.

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