Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 8cx chipset for Windows 10

At the Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, Qualcomm has taken the wraps off its latest chipset intended for Windows 10 computers – the Snapdragon 8cx. This is the successor to the Snapdragon 850, but it’s a different beast altogether.

Whereas the 850 was just a modified Snapdragon 845, which is intended for mobile devices, the 8cx is the company’s first of a kind SoC built specifically for Windows 10 PCs from the ground up. It’s made on a 7nm process and should be in shipping products around the third quarter of next year.

The company says it will pack twice the performance of the Snapdragon 850, which, to quote Reddit parlance, is big if true. That is because Qualcomm says the 8cx’s performance when running native Windows ARM apps should rival that of an Intel Core i5 U-series CPU. The SD850 beat a Core i5-6300U in multi-core benchmark scores and only slightly lagged in single-core scores, so that’s certainly believable – obviously the 8cx will need to be compared to a current generation Core i5 8th gen part.

The Snapdragon 8cx’s Adreno 680 GPU will handle dual 4K HDR displays, and will have hardware acceleration for 4K HDR video playback at 120fps. The chipset’s CPU cores will be Kryo 495, and it’s also got an integrated X24 Cat.20 LTE modem with a top theoretical download speed of 2Gbps and 316Mbps uploads.

Third-gen PCI-E and second-gen USB 3.1 will be supported for “limitless peripherals”, and for storage there’s support for NVMe SSDs. The built-in Hexagon 685 DSP will enable enhanced voice assistant experiences for Cortana and Alexa, and Qualcomm’s fourth-gen AI engine is on board too.

Bluetooth 5.0 is supported too, as well as Quick Charge 4+. The 8cx is without a doubt the fastest Snapdragon ever, a feat that is made possible in the laptop/2-in-1 category by the better heat dissipation than what you’d find in any phone. Qualcomm also promises multi-day battery life for the devices that will have the 8cx at the core.


Bluetooth pairing has a security hole. Get ready for updates

Image result for Bluetooth pairing has a security hole. Get ready for updateWhen you pair a couple of Bluetooth devices, like your phone and computer, they exchange encryption keys. But it turns out the Bluetooth specification didn’t require that both of them completely validate those keys. Well, it does now.

This comes after it was revealed Tuesday that an attacker within wireless reach could insert themselves into communications between the two devices if both failed to properly validate the keys. That’s according to the Bluetooth SIG and Carnegie Mellon’s CERT, with some updates catalogued by ZDNet.

Luckily, it doesn’t work if at least one of the devices does its due diligence validating all the elliptic curve parameters during the  Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) key exchange (CVE-2018-5383), and a lot of manufacturers have already patched their devices.  Apple updated MacOS for El Capitan and later, plus the fix is in iOS 11.4.  Intel has provided updated Bluetooth drivers for Windows 7 , 8.1 and 10. However, some patches need to come from your device’s manufacturer — Broadcom released a patch in June, for example, but those updates need to trickle down. Dell’s already released Qualcomm’s patch, as has Lenovo.

If you’re not on an autoupdate cycle, you should probably check for updates with your phone or system manufacturer.

The security flaw won’t matter if you’re, say, connecting your Xbox controller to your PC, or your camera to your phone, and the Bluetooth SIG says it’s unaware of any actual incidents related to the flaw. But Bluetooth file transfers are becoming more popular and tools like Apple’s Handoff use Bluetooth for the connection while transferring files over Wi-Fi. You may be typing sensitive information on your Bluetooth keyboard. And while it requires proximity for someone to fool with the data connection, given how many Bluetooth devices frustratingly require repeated re-pairings, the probability of that rises.

We’ve reached out to Apple and Google  for comment but didn’t immediately hear back. Broadcom and Qualcomm confirmed they’ve issued patches.


Huawei nova 4 render shows a hole in the screen for the selfie camera

Huawei wants to release the first phone with a screen hole, beating Samsung to the finish line. That phone may be the Huawei nova 4, renders of which just hit the net.

Huawei nova 4 render (by @VenyaGeskin1)
Huawei nova 4 render (by @VenyaGeskin1)

The design of the back is pretty much a P20 Pro. The front features screen with a hole for the selfie camera in the top left corner. This matches the official teaser and the disguised device that was spotted in the wild.

Huawei even live streamed a demo of a prototype device with such a screen hole, which served as the basis of this render. Admittedly, the presenters were very careful not to show the back during the stream.

A prototype shown off by Huawei during Jackson Yee's birthday party A prototype shown off by Huawei during Jackson Yee's birthday party A prototype shown off by Huawei during Jackson Yee's birthday party
A prototype shown off by Huawei during Jackson Yee’s birthday party

Chances are that the Huawei nova 4 (as well as the Samsung phone) will used BOE-made LCDs, which explains the similarities in the display design and camera hole positioning.