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CES: Snapdragon 800 headlines star-studded Qualcomm keynote

08 Jan 2013
Maroon 5 perform at CES 2013

LAS VEGAS: Qualcomm boss Paul Jacobs wowed the CES crowd with a parade of big names and big product announcements in his first ever keynote address at the trade show.

Jacobs unveiled a new addition to the company's Snapdragon mobile processor line, the 800 Series chips, which come with a 2.3GHz clock speed and LTE Advanced wireless broadband capability. Jacobs said that the chip will offer a 75 percent performance boost over its current 600 series processors. It is expected to ship later this year.

"It is the most advanced wireless processor ever built," Jacobs said. "This little chip is going to make a big impact."

Jacobs also demonstrated a prototype tablet running on the Snapdragon 800 platform. The tablet is able to render video in full UltraHD resolutions at 40 frames per second (fps) as well as capture high definition video.

In support of Jacobs, Qualcomm touted a parade of celebrities. Film director Guillermo Del Toro, actress Alice Eve and Nascar racing champion Brad Keselowski made cameos to talk up their latest projects and detail how Qualcomm will be providing processing power.

Meanwhile Archbishop Desmond Tutu recorded a video on the effects of mobile technology in affordable healthcare.

Rolls-Royce lent further celebrity flair to the event when it brought out an electric luxury car powered by batteries storing 73 kilowatt hours of energy, while rock band Maroon 5 closed out the keynote with a special performance.

However, the star who brought the biggest roar from the crowd was a very familiar face at CES. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance in what was to be the first CES pre-show keynote ever not to be presented by himself or Bill Gates.

Ballmer talked up the partnership between Microsoft and Qualcomm which underpinned the latest generation of Windows Phone devices. The Microsoft boss said that the processing power had helped to enable Microsoft to add features to its mobile platform.

"When we set out to build Windows Phone we did not want to build a single phone for all of us," Ballmer said.

"We wanted to build a phone that can be personal for each of us."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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