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New Snapdragon chip to power next generation of Android phones

More juice you say? More powerful versions of the tiny chips driving some of your favourite Android devices will be out next year.

If you have any interest in what's underneath the hood of an Android device, you'll know what Snapdragon is. Built by Qualcomm, it's a family of processors that are the brains inside the latest and greatest Android smart phones, including the Google Nexus One and most recently the HTC Desire HD.

Great news, processor fans -- Qualcomm is working on chips that are even more advanced, preparing to run ever more powerful Android smart phones and tablet devices. Next year, the MSM8960 will be released, a dual-core chip that uses an upgraded CPU core.

This will deliver around five times better performance than the very first Snapdragon chip, at 75 per cent less power, the company promises. Let's hope it's true: the dreadful battery life of the latest smart phones is by far our strongest complaint about them.

Long Term Evolution, or 4G, seems an awful long way off. Nevertheless this new Snapdragon chip will be able to support the next generation of mobile Internet connection, as well as four times the graphical performance of the original. Also provided is integrated connectivity for WLAN, GPS and Bluetooth. If you want to get really geeky (we do), it'll also be the first to be built on 28-nanometer process technology.

The MSM8960 will be competing with ARM's Cortex-A9 processor, which we suspect will power the iPad 2, as well as the Tegra 2, which will be found in future LG and Motorola devices. With Google constantly updating its Android software and putting in additional features, 2011's devices are going to need this extra oomph.

Qualcomm says 55 devices running on Snapdragon are on the market, and more than 125 are being designed with its chips, with ten companies working on tablet devices. And it's not just Android -- Snapdragon is under the hood of Windows Phone 7 devices as well.