Qualcomm introduces Snapdragon 845 with improved photos, AI processing

Qualcomm took the stage to introduce its next-generation mobile platform, the Snapdragon 845. Notably, the new chipset will feature 4k HDR video capture and improved AI processing.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Qualcomm on Wednesday announced the Snapdragon 845, its next-generation mobile processor headed to 2018 high-end flagship smartphones.

New features including 4K HDR video capture, better battery life, and improved AI processing were revealed by Qualcomm at its second annual tech summit in Hawaii.

Qualcomm revealed the Snapdragon 845 is made up of the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, Wi-Fi, Hexagon 685 DSP, Aqstic Audio, Adreno 630 GPU, Spectra 280 image signal processing, Kryo 385 CPU, hardware-based security, and memory. This will lead to 30 percent faster graphics, 30 percent better power efficiency, and 2.5x faster display throughput, compared to the Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm said.

(Image: Shara Tibken / CNET)

The Hexagon 685 DSP will allow for faster machine learning and AI features, and is paired with the Aqstic Audio for better recognition of wake words like "Ok, Google."

Samsung, Google, and LG used Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chip in 2017 to power their flagships, and it's likely the big players will follow suit next year. Samsung's Galaxy S9 has been rumored to feature the new Qualcomm chipset.

Snapdragon 845's camera features will include Ultra HD Premium Video Capture, deep portrait, multi-frame noise reduction, 30 percent power reduction for video, depth based face recognition, accelerated image stabilization, selective motion capture, and more. The Spectra ISP adds native support for iris scanning even if you're wearing sun glasses.

Machine learning on the Snapdragon 845 will allow users to take bokeh photos using only one camera, rather than using two cameras found on smartphones like the iPhone X. Qualcomm said at its event that AI software, hardware, and services will total $160 billion in total revenue by 2025.

An octa-core chip built on Samsung's 10nm process, Qualcomm said Snapdragon 845 will be in devices starting in early 2018. China smartphone-giant Xiaomi has already been confirmed as a partner for its new Mi 7 handset. No other specifics surrounding release were shared.

"Xiaomi is committed to making devices that combine cutting-edge innovations in technology and beautiful design, while defying price expectations, and we have chosen Snapdragon 845 to power our next flagship smartphone," Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi, said in a statement.

We're likely to hear more about the Snapdragon 845 and partner OEMs at CES 2018 in January.

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