After unveiling the Snapdragon 845 processor at its annual tech summit, Qualcomm on Wednesday shared more details about next year's flagship chip. As expected, it improves upon Qualcomm's current Snapdragon 835 chip in every conceivable way, promising to take the next wave of smartphones into a new frontier of power and efficiency.
In addition to expected improvements in performance—up to 30-percent faster!—Qualcomm's big focus with the Snapdragon 845 is on AI, Immersion, security, and connectivity, using the same tiny 10nm footprint as its predecessor.
According to Qualcomm, devices with the Snapdragon 845 should see a major leap in camera quality, with emphasis on capturing more color volume—basically processing more shades of the same color—rather than increasing image resolution. Qualcomm is so confident its chip will create superior results that it's saying its DxOMark score will be higher than 100.
The Snapdragon 845 will also utilize an Adreno 630 graphics processor and Qualcomm's Spectra 280 image signal processor to support HDR 4K video capture at 60 frames per second—a first for smartphones. That should be great for budding directors and cinematographers.
The Spectra 280 image signal processor is also said to capture cleaner footage in low light; Qualcomm says the new software will enable multi-frame noise reduction, essentially eliminating the ugly noise typically found in low light pictures and video. (Something we'll happily put to the test.)
Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 845 will feature an X20 LTE modem, which will support 5x Carrier Aggregation. In theory, mobile users should see peak speeds surpass 1Gbps, a big leap over the X16 modem found in the current Snapdragon 835 chip. Additionally, the X20 will give users the option of dual LTE SIM connectivity.
In terms of Security, the revamped chip will feature a secure processing unit that will be able to execute biometric or key authentication. The feature sounds a lot like the Secure Enclave found in Apple's A series of chips, which houses important biometric information without sending anything to Apple.
Finally, the Snapdragon 845 will introduce AI improvements, assigning different tasks to specific cores based on the power that's needed. With the feature enabled, Qualcomm claims AI processes will be executed up to three times faster than its predecessor. Everything from Google's TensorFlow to Facebook's Caffe 2 will be supported.
We should begin to see devices equipped with the Snapdragon 845 chip early next year, perhaps starting with Samsung's Galaxy S9, which may or may not make its debut at CES in January.
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