Qulacomm has just unveiled the Hexagon 680 DSP as the DSP that is being used by the Snapdragon 820 processor. DSPs are used for performing tasks that can be done faster and/or be done using less power as compared to the processor.
The Hexagon DSP was used on the Nexus 5 to double the battery life when playing mp3 files. Similarly, the Hexagon 680 DSP brings in two new features.
Firstly, it has a dedicated DSP for sensor processing and is called low power island. What it does is basically improve the battery life of functions that are always turned on such as step or activity sensors as well as positioning sensors.
The second one uses HVX (Hexagon Vector eXtensions) paired with Qualcomm Spectrum camera ISP to provide advanced imaging and computer vision. For example, on devices powered by the Snapdragon 820, the ISP and DSP will work together to adaptively brighten images as well as videos that would have appeared to have been too dark on other phones. Thanks to Hexagon 680, it is also able to perform this much faster and at a much lower power consumption of 10% compared to others.
The Qualcomm 820 is one powerful chipset but with powerful chipsets, the drain on battery life is usually more. It is good to see Qualcomm is making use of new technology to improve the efficiency.