As the tradition goes with Qualcomm, the next flagship chip to power all the major flagship devices in the year 2018 is officially announced and it is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 to succeed the well-performing Snapdragon 835 that was a part of some of the excellent phones this year. At the Snapdragon Tech Summit held in Maui, the chip-maker Qualcomm talked about how the Snapdragon 835 was doing and took an opportunity to tease the upcoming chip that will see itself as a part of every high-end phone in 2018.
The Snapdragon 845 mobile platform will be focusing on the improvement of speeds, better battery efficiency, and also in making the image processing better. Every year, the flagship chip is a part of the major flagships launched by the companies including Samsung, Google, HTC, Xiaomi, and LG among a few others. The Snapdragon 845 is said to be coming onto even Windows 10 PCs and not just on smartphones next year.
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun took to the stage today to mention that the company’s next premium device is going to be powered by this newly announced chip. The use of these new platforms on the VR headsets as well was very much evident and that could be the case even with the upcoming chipset, whose details are yet to be known and those could be revealed today, as the Snapdragon Tech Summit is still going on.
Qualcomm SVP Alex Katouzian did mention that the focus on the Snapdragon 845 will remain on imaging/video processing, AI, VR/AR and battery life. We will update whenever more details or the actual specs of the new flagship mobile platform is known.
A few days ago when Qualcomm announced their new mobile platform, all that we knew about the chipsets were its name a few vague details. Now that we have a better understanding of what is new about the Snapdragon 845 Mobile platform we can better explain it.
Although we call the previous generation Snapdragon chipsets as a processor in general, it is a huge mistake to understand it as just a processor. These chipsets are usually a group of multiple processors that are together called as a system on chip(SoC). We’ve seen in the Snapdragon 835 chipsets that Qualcomm included dedicated processors for like the ISP or the image signal processor or a DSP which is the digital signal processor for handling videos better. In the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, the company included an all-new SPU or the secure processing unit which is a subdivision of the chipsets whose exclusive job is to protect the vital information in your device including the fingerprints, iris and mobile payment data.
Essentially how the SPU works is by creating a unique key whenever you download a picture, create a document or add a biometric model of authentication. To decrypt and access any of the data, you will need the unique key that was earlier generated by the SPU. The SPU can also be used to generate keys for text messages for apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for providing a better encryption. To make things even more secure, the SPU in the Snapdragon 845 is completely isolated from the other subsystems of the mobile platform.
Support for 4K HDR
While support for HDR capture has been a common feature in a lot of phones for a while now, the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform finally has an image signal processor that is capable of capturing 4K HDR video content at up to 60 frames per second. HDR essentially abbreviates to the high dynamic range and it results in more vibrant colors and a better contrast. Also, the new ISP allows for even better slow motion videos to be recorded on the compatible sensors, the Snapdragon 845 supports for up to 480 FPS at 720p HD or up to 240FPS at 1080p FullHD. This means much more of the slow-motion drama at a higher resolution or at a higher frame rate.
Better Machine Learning
In the recent announcement of the Pixel 2, we heard the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai talk a lot about the importance of AI in smartphones and how they help improve the various aspects of a device on the whole.With the Snapdragon 845, the company takes their move towards better AI and ML a step ahead, the Hexagon 685 digital signal processor helps improve the AI based recognition. The DSP also helps improve the performance of traditional tasks including fingerprint, iris and face recognition. The Hexagon 685 also has a better efficiency to analyze and identify the objects captured by your phone’s camera, this is a great move considering Google’s push towards AI enhanced photography on the Pixel 2.
Performance upgrades in the new generation of mobile platforms are almost obvious, however, with the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm is promising a 25% to 30% bump in the performance compared to the previous generation Snapdragon 835 which was already a great performer. The chipsets comprise 4 Kryo 385 cores which feature the A75 architecture running at 2.8GHz each and another 4 A55 cores for a balanced word load that help increase the battery lives.
Coming to the Graphics, the Adreno 630 Visual Processing Subsystem which includes the GPU, VPU and the DPU provide a 30% improvement in the rendering performance and also the power efficiency compared to the previous generation Adreno 540 on the Snapdragon 835. This new improvement in performance who greatly help the VR experience while using the gear VR or the Google Daydream and when combined with the Qualcomm’s new multi-view rendering technology, the Snapdragon 845 should be able to achieve up to 120FPS at 2K x 2K resolutions.
Faster WiFi and support for Gigabit LTE
We’ve heard a lot about the transformation to the 5G network over the recent past and it’s been so exciting as the 5G should reportedly provide for gigabit speeds on a cellular data. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 comes with the new X20 LTE modem which supports for speeds up to 1.2Gbs and also supports the new 802.11AD WiFi standard. The X20 modem also comes with Bluetooth 5.0 specifically enhanced to improve the performance of wireless headsets.
Coming to the presence of the chipsets in phones, we don’t expect to see the Snapdragon 845 in devices until the spring and the only device that is speculated to have the Snapdragon 845 is the upcoming Xiaomi Mi 7. However, we certainly expect to see the upcoming flagships from Samsung, LG, Google and even OnePlus having this mobile platform.