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(Pocket-lint) - Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs unveiled the quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor for mobile devices during his CES opening keynote speech. Normally, Steve Ballmer (or Bill Gates before him) kicks off the show, but Jacobs was asked to do the honours this year - although the Microsoft boss did make a cameo appearance after all.

The new processor, it was revealed, will be capable of speeds of up to 2.3GHz per core, be available for smartphones, tablet devices and Smart TVs, and start to appear in consumer products in the latter half of the year.

It is capable of console-like graphics, with many polygons being able to be crunched at the same time. But perhaps the most exciting feature of the latest generation of Snapdragon, Jacobs revealed, is that it can handle the decoding and playback of Ultra High Definition video footage. With 7.1 surround sound, to boot.

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To illustrate the fact, Spanish movie director Guilllermo Del Toro joined Jacobs on stage to view a clip of Blade II which has been remastered to be natively 4K (3840 x 2160). This was then played to the packed auditorium using just a Snapdragon 800-laden tablet device, on a massive screen and including the 7.1 audio. Very impressive.

In addition, the Snapdragon 800 will also make devices capable of recording in Ultra High Definition. That's 4K videos made by your own sweet hand. And on a tablet or phone.

The keynote, therefore, was a massive success, with every demo hitting the right spot.

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As well as the Snapdragon 800 processor and film director Guillermo Del Toro, Paul Jacobs was joined on stage by a number of other celebrity guests to help launch the 2013 CES under the tagline "Born Mobile". Maroon 5 played out the keynote, while famous names shouting out about the freedom afforded by a mobile phone include Star Trek Into Darkness star Alice Eve (who wowed the crowd with a Vulcan greeting), Nascar driver Brad Keselowski, and Sesame Street's Big Bird. No, really.

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The aforementioned Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made an appearance to extol the benefits of Windows Phone 8, but for us it was a small chip that stole the show. And rightly so.

Pocket-lint will be going hands-on with the new processor and its capabilities during the CES trade show. We'll bring you more the moment it happens.

Writing by Rik Henderson.