QUALCOMM HAS TORN the covers off the specs of its Snapdragon 845, removing the need to speculate about the capabilities of its latest system-on-a-chip (SoC).
The standards boost in specs over its predecessor, the Snapdragon 835, are all present and correct.
It rocks an octa-core Kryo 385 processor arranged in the ARM's big.LITTLE formant, with four Cortex-A75 cores running up to 2.8GHz on point for handling power hungry apps and workloads, and four Cortex-A55 cores running up to 1.8GHz for handling less straining tasks while reducing battery power consumption. An Adreno 630 GPU is on board to take care of mobile graphics pushing.
Support for Qualcomm's QuickCharge 4/4+ has been plonked on the chipset alongside multi-gigabit 802.11ad Wi-Fi capacity.
So what the hell does all that mean? Basically, the Snapdragon 845 offers 25 per cent more performance than the older Snapdragon 835 chip but guzzle 30 per cent less power.
But such figures are a bit abstract until they're put into practical context.
And the really interesting thing about the Snapdragon 845 is how it can support phone cameras up to 32MP, power 4K video recording with high dynamic range (HDR), and the kicker: deliver 2,400x2,400 resolution virtual reality at a smooth 120 frames per second.
That means the next clutch of flagship phones using the chip, likely the Samsung Galaxy S9, will be very capable handsets, and could significantly boost camera videography and virtual and augmented reality experiences on a mobile platform.
Yet there more still to the Snapdragon 845; it has the power and configuration to run artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and machine learning on the chipset, rather than relying on connecting with cloud-based services.
The chipset uses both its CPU and GPU to do this, but also has the Hexagon 685 digital signal processor (DSP) which acts as an AI co-processor and gives the Snapdragon 845 a 3x performance boost in AI tasks over its predecessor.
All of this should make mobile virtual assistants like Bixby and the Google Assistant run faster, as well as offer support for running TensorFlow machine learning frameworks and the likes of Facebook's Cafe2 natively on a smartphone through the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine SDK.
So in short, Qualcomm's new tiny square sliver of silicon should usher in some pretty impressive smartphones as well as handle power-efficient Windows 10 laptops, and potentially yield some rather smart gadgets, like... oh we dunno... a talking toaster. µ
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