Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Promises Better Battery, AI & Speed For 2018 Smartphones

Qualcomm’s latest processor is promising to bring more immersive experiences, smarter applications, superfast connectivity and better security to high-end smartphones when the first devices powered by the chip arrive early next year.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system on a chip (SoC) succeeds the Snapdragon 835, which powers most of the current generation of flagship smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Google Pixel 2, so the innovations included are extremely significant for the mobile market next year.

The headline features are more immersive content and better AI performance as well as other improvements that boost battery life.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

Qualcomm is pitching ‘eXtended Reality’ (XR) as a term for applications and content that blur the physical and virtual worlds using a combination of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR).

A new Qualcomm Spectra 280 image signal processor (ISP) promises cinema grade ultra HD video, while the Qualcomm Adreno 630 visual processing subsystem should deliver better rendering for applications, including games.

The improvements to imaging and processing architectures contribute to 30 percent better battery, Qualcomm says, as does improved on-device AI.

The Snapdragon 845 boasts always-on keyboard detection and ultra-low power voice processing as well as support for more frameworks. This should improve the capabilities of on-board digital assistants such as Google Assistant.

The Qualcomm X20 LTE modem offers compatibility with more spectrum configurations, including unlicenced frequencies, through 5x carrier aggregation, while Cat 18 LTE support means it is capable of speeds of up to 1.2Gbps – provided a network is available.

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There’s support for 60GHz 802.11ad Wi-Fi for multi-gigabit speeds of up to 4.6GBps and integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi and proprietary Bluetooth 5 features mean devices can use multiple wireless speakers and connect with wireless earbuds using half the power.

Finally, security is boosted by an isolated secure processing unit (SPU) which will not only offer better data protection, but enhance protection for mobile payments and biometric authentication.

“As leaders in mobile technology, we will transform the mobile experience with comprehensive advancements in visual processing, AI, security and connectivity,” said Alex Katouzian, head of mobile at Qualcomm Technologies.

“The Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform is the next horizon of innovation and is going to transform the way people use their mobile devices to make their lives better.”

Qualcomm made the announcement at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in Hawaii, where it was joined by Microsoft and hardware partners to show off the first ever ‘always connected’ PCs powered by Snapdragon 835 processors and Windows 10.

The San Diego-based firm’s technology is used to power the vast majority of the premium smartphone market, however the firm is mired in legal issues that led to a £99 billion takeover attempt by Broadcom last month.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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