Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform: Specifications, top features, release date and more
Qualcomm on Wednesday revealed new security and battery life features on its latest Snapdragon 845 processor, a chipset that is set to power high-end Android smartphones next year.
Qualcomm on Wednesday detailed new features of its latest high-end Snapdragon 845 processor. Successor to the last year's Snapdragon 835 processor, Qualcomm's new chipset focuses on security, battery life, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality. Set to power high-end Android smartphones next year, Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform also leverages machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Qualcomm does not disclose revenue figures for its Snapdragon chips. But they are an increasingly important part of its business because its lucrative patent licensing business is under attack in a series of legal actions from Apple.
Qualcomm is also facing a $103 billion takeover bid from Broadcom Ltd which earlier this week said it would nominate a slate of directors to Qualcomm's board.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Specifications, features
Camera: The chipset comes with propriety Spectra 280 Image Signal Processor (ISP) to deliver better and faster image processing. Qualcomm claims the chipset enables capture of up to 16-megapixel resolution at 60 images per second. For videos, the ISP supports ultra high definition capture.
Connectivity: The Snapdragon 845 module comes with Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, enabling the much talked-about Gigabit LTE connectivity. The company claims the modem enables 20% faster peak speed as compared to its older X16 LTE modem. This also includes 802.11ad multi-gigabit Wi-Fi and integrated 2x2 802.11ac for faster connectivity.
Artificial Intelligence, machine learning: Qualcomm's latest chip features a range of improvements to help it deal with artificial intelligence tasks like recognising and categorizing images, Keith Kressin, a senior vice president at the company, told Reuters in an interview.
The AI module is powered by Qualcomm's third-generation Hexagon 685 Digital Signal Processor (DSP) for high-end and sophisticated data processing. The processor also helps deliver richer camera, voice and gaming experiences.
The company tweaked various parts of the chip for so-called machine learning applications. While that includes things consumers might notice like image recognition, it also includes behind-the-scenes improvements. For example, the chip will help ensure that a user's fingers do not accidentally register as taps when gripping the sides of an edge-to-edge display.
Security: For the first time, Qualcomm's Snapdragon chip also features physically separate processor called a "Secure Processing Unit" for storing information like fingerprints and iris scans, similar to technology found on Apple's iPhone. Previous Qualcomm chips had a "trusted zone" that was not physically separate from the rest of the processor.
"With biometric identification on the rise, it was important to take (security) to the next level," Kressin said.
Kressin said the chip will also help phones register touch screen inputs when wet. That is a critical improvement because even though many top phone models from Samsung and others are now water resistant, they are difficult to operate with water on the screen.
Battery Life: Qualcomm claims its latest Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform can deliver all-day battery life. Backed up by its propriety Quick Charge 4+ technology, it enables a device to charge up to 50% in only 15 minutes.
AR, VR: The newest Snapdragon also has features aimed at virtual and augmented reality headsets. One feature called "Adreno foveation" will let the edges of a headset screen operate at lower resolutions while the centre of the screen is sharper, similar to how human peripheral vision is fuzzier than central vision. The technique can save battery live, Kressin said.
Visual Processing: Snapdragon 845 SoC comes with the company's next-generation Adreno 630 Visual Processing subsystem, which is inclusive of GPU, VPU and DPU. Qualcomm says the module brings 30% improvements in graphics and video rendering as compared to older generation modules.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Release date, devices
As has been the trend, Qualcomm's top-end chipsets are available on flagship smartphones by companies such as Samsung, LG and even budget premium smartphone players like OnePlus. For now, we can safely predict Samsung's next flagship, Galaxy S9, will run on Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.
Since Galaxy S9 is rumoured to debut at the annual CES conference in January, the first Snapdragon 845-powered phone could debut as early as next month.
Xiaomi has confirmed that its next flagship smartphone, dubbed as Mi 7, will run on Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform. OnePlus 6 has also been confirmed to run on the high-end chipset.
(With inputs from Reuters)