A couple of days ago, Qualcomm hosted its Snapdragon Summit and had some massive announcements to make. The company announced the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, its next generation flagship mobile processor. During the event, Qualcomm said the chip will transform both mobile and computing technology.

Now, the company is offering more details on how the Snapdragon 845 will achieve its bold claim. At the event, Qualcomm showcased its Always Connected PCs, which brings full Windows 10 integration with mobile devices. Additionally, the Snapdragon 845 is also the chip that will drive towards 5G connectivity and greater performance.

Perhaps the biggest news is that Qualcomm now sees Snapdragon as a platform. With the introduction of the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, the company says the chip will be the first to truly offer mobile artificial intelligence (AI), eXtended reality (XR), super-fast connectivity, and a secure processing unit (SPU) for huge security gains.

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“As leaders in mobile technology, we will transform the mobile experience with comprehensive advancements in visual processing, AI, security and connectivity,” said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager, mobile, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “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 has dominated the smartphone market, especially at flagship level. The Snapdragon 845 will land in mobile handsets next year, but will also power XR headsets and be connected to Windows PCs.

The chipmaker has now fully detailed how the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform will change the mobile and computing worlds:

Artificial Intelligence

AI development in recent years means we are being aided by artificial intelligence in numerous ways. Mobile technology is increasingly adopting AI solutions. Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform will be at the forefront of this adoption.

With the new SoC, users will get 3x AI performance improvement over the Snapdragon 835. This could have major ramifications for virtual assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana. They will be significantly more powerful and will be able to carry out more automated tasks. Besides this, general handset performance will be more efficient, like taking images, voice interactions, and gestures.

“In addition to the existing support for Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook’s Caffe/Caffe2 frameworks, the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine (NPE) SDK now supports Tensorflow Lite and the new Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX), making it easy for developers to use their framework of choice, including Caffe2, CNTK and MxNet. Snapdragon 845 also supports Google’s Android NN API.”

Immersion

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform brings cinema-grade video capabilities to devices. The SoC debuts the Qualcomm Spectra 280 image signal processor (ISP) and Qualcomm Adreno 630 visual processing subsystem. Both architectures deliver cinema-like (Ultra HD capable) video and photography.

The Adreno 630 will also offer new eXtended reality (XR) solutions. The Snapdragon 845 is the first processor to provide support for room-scale 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF).

Security

The Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform brings enhanced security options and vault-like protection. The introduction of a hardware isolated subsystem called the secure processing unit (SPU) allows for improved biometric protection and authentication techniques.

Connection

Qualcomm was eager to discuss connectivity as one of its main points of focus. The Snapdragon 845 is the bridge processor between current 4G and upcoming 5G connectivity.

“The Snapdragon 845 integrates Qualcomm Technologies’ second-generation Gigabit LTE solution – the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem. Its lightning-fast connection speeds allow users to enjoy immersive XR experiences in more places, download a 3GB movie in less than 3 minutes, just before boarding a flight and access large files or apps in the cloud as fast as those stored in their phones’ memory.”

Specs

Qualcomm Spectra 280 ISP

  • Ultra HD premium capture
  • Qualcomm Spectra Module Program, featuring Active Depth Sensing
  • MCTF video capture
  • Multi-frame noise reduction
  • High performance capture up to 16MP @60FPS
  • Slow motion video capture (720p @480 fps)
  • ImMotion computational photography

Adreno 630 Visual Processing Subsystem

  • 30% improved graphics/video rendering and power reduction compared to previous generation
  • Room-scale 6 DoF with SLAM
  • Adreno foveation, featuring tile rendering, eye tracking, multiView rendering, fine grain preemption
  • 2K x 2K @ 120Hz, for 2.5x faster display throughput
  • Improved 6DoF with hand-tracking and controller support

Qualcomm® Hexagon™ 685 DSP

  • 3rd Generation Hexagon Vector DSP (HVX) for AI and imaging
  • 3rd Generation Qualcomm All-Ways AwareTM Sensor Hub
  • Hexagon scalar DSP for audio

Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem

  • Support for 1.2 Gbps Gigabit LTE Category 18
  • License Assisted Access (LAA)
  • Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) shared radio spectrum
  • Dual SIM-Dual VoLTE (DSDV)

Connectivity

  • Multigigabit 11ad Wi-Fi with diversity module
  • Integrated 2×2 11ac Wi-Fi with Dual Band Simultaneous (DBS) support
  • 11k/r/v: Carrier Wi-Fi enhanced mobility, fast acquisition and congestion mitigation
  • Bluetooth 5 with proprietary enhancements for ultra-low power wireless ear bud support and direct audio broadcast to multiple devices

Secure Processing Unit

  • Biometric authentication (fingerprint, iris, voice, face)
  • User and app data protection
  • Integrated use-cases such as integrated SIM, Payments, and more

Qualcomm Aqstic Audio

  • Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec(WCD934x):
  • Playback:
    • Dynamic range: 130dB, THD+N: -109dB
    • Native DSD support (DSD64/DSD128), PCM up to 384kHz/32bit
    • Low power voice activation: 0.65mA
  • Record:
    • Dynamic range: 109dB, THD+N: -103dB
    • Sampling: Up to 192kHz/24bit
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