- Snapdragon 845 is the new chip and will hit mobile phones in 2018
- They will have easier to take better photos and record better video.
All Android phones share, as is logical, the Google operating system. But it is not the only thing they have in common. Most of them are built on the Snapdragon platform of Qualcomm, a set of processors integrated into a single chip that is responsible for governing the different functions of the phone.
Today the most powerful chip of the company – which is found in many of the high-end Android phones on the market – is the Snapdragon 835. Qualcomm, however, has its successor ready. It has shown today in Hawaii, it will be called Snapdragon 845 and it will reach mobile phones in the first half of next year.
What will change in the phones? Input is a much more powerful processor. “It is 30% more powerful than the current 835 but consumes 30% less energy,” said Keith Kerssin, vice president of Qualcomm, during the presentation of the new component.
This is the jump to which we are accustomed in each generation of product, driven by a smaller size in the transistors that form the different process units within the chip and an optimized code when performing the different tasks, but the Snapdragon 845 will open the door also to new functions in Android phones that until now was expensive to implement on a large scale and required a significant investment in hardware by different manufacturers.
The new “brain” of the phones, for example, now includes a secure enclave inside the processor and isolated from the rest of the components to store biometric data, passwords and sensitive user information.
It is an area that has additional security protections and is completely encrypted to prevent the theft of information that could compromise the security of users. “With biometric data as a form of identification, the need for better security measures has become a priority, ” says Su Choudhury, product manager at Qualcomm. “If a traditional password is lost, it is only necessary to change it, but once the biometric security is violated, there is little to do, we can not change our face or iris.”
This enclave was already present in some Android phones this year – it is also a usual security measure in iPhone phones – but until now each manufacturer had to integrate this enclave into the phone independently.
Integrating this component into the main chip, the task of providing phones with better biometric protection measures, such as facial recognition, becomes simpler and more standard among the different companies that use Qualcomm’s components.
Much more intelligent
In addition to improved security, phones equipped with the new processor will also have it easier to take better photos and record better video. The final quality will always depend on the components that the manufacturer chooses when designing the phone but the Snapdragon 845 includes several functions to improve the result of the photographs, including a “portrait” mode able to simulate the effect of blurring a large opening in a professional camera, even when using only one sensor.
In the section of the video, the new processor will be able to capture films in 4K quality with HDR -major chromatic richness- or slow motion videos of up to 480 frames per second.
The new image processor will not only help to capture scenes but also to create them with greater realism. It will be able to facilitate the development of augmented reality and virtual reality applications through routines designed specifically to recognize the user’s position in a room or recreate virtual images with different levels of detail according to the field of vision.
The human eye does not see the details of a scene with the same quality. He is able to perceive more details, for example, in the central area of vision. Taking advantage of this behavior, it is possible to optimize the task of creating virtual objects or images in virtual reality environments, dedicating more resources to those that the user can perceive better and less to their environment.
In general, this means that developers can create more detailed worlds with less effort and a lower workload for the main processor and therefore, the battery.
Qualcomm ensures that phones equipped with this new processor can be used in virtual reality sessions of up to 3 continuous hours between load and load, a high figure taking into account the power usually required by this type of applications.
The company has also provided 845 with several areas specialized in artificial intelligence and machine learning that will allow Google and its partners to create telephones capable of better-recognizing objects in a photograph or listening more accurately to the voice commands used with assistants. virtual
Last, but not least, the new processors will allow extending the autonomy of the phones significantly. The final duration of each model and the battery that the manufacturer decides to put, but Qualcomm believes that an average phone will be able to offer up to 20 hours of continuous video playback compared to 12 or 14 that is usual to have today. The phones will also be compatible with fast charging systems capable of recovering up to 50% of the battery in less than 15 minutes.
The improvement in autonomy is not only due to the greater efficiency of the processor but also to an improvement in the different radio components. The mobiles built around this chip will be able to connect faster to telephony networks – they will support speeds higher than 1 Gbps in LTE – and more efficiently in the case of WiFi networks, minimizing interference.
The Bluetooth connection will also improve. Thanks to the new chip, phones can be paired more easily with wireless headphones and other consumer electronics devices.
A competitive market
The Snapdragon processors continue to be the most used in mobile telephony but Qualcomm has increased competition. Manufacturers with many resources, such as Huawei or Samsung, have begun in recent years to design their own processors and communications chips in an attempt to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Intel, which until a few years ago seemed little interested in the mobile phone market, has managed in recent years to become a considerable rival in the modem market for small devices and has snatched the company part of the iPhone market, that until a few years ago used Qualcomm as an exclusive provider. Apple and Qualcomm have a tense relationship these days, with several demands on courses, although Qualcomm is still a supplier to the apple company.
To compensate for the presence of rivals in the market, Qualcomm has begun to look for new devices in which to integrate its components, such as cars, speakers, smart devices or virtual reality glasses.