How the Snap­dragon 845 will im­pact your phone

MICHAEL SI­MON re­veals how it will im­prove this year’s flag­ships

Android Advisor - - Contents -

If you thought 2017’s An­droid flag­ship phones were fast, wait un­til this year. Qual­comm has un­veiled its next-gen­er­a­tion chip, the Snap­dragon 845, and it’s more than just the next num­ber in the evo­lu­tion: It’s a ground-up re­design of the plat­form’s ar­chi­tec­ture. And it’s sure to have a pro­found af­fect on 2018’s crop of pre­mium An­droid hand­sets.

While the 835 was mostly fo­cused on per­for­mance and speed, the 845 brings a slew of en­hance­ments to how phones will use the pro­ces­sor for AI, photos, and, of course, bat­tery life. We’ll prob­a­bly have to wait un­til

the Galaxy S9 to see it in ac­tion, but once the new chip ar­rives, it will mean great things for mo­bile power users. Here are five ways the new chip will im­pact fu­ture An­droid flag­ship phones.

1. Your data will fly

The ar­chi­tec­ture of the Snap­dragon 845 is the same 10nm octa-core pro­ces­sor as the 835, so it’s un­likely that the Galaxy S9 or LG V40 will bring much of a per­for­mance boost over the S8 and V30. Qual­comm says the 845 chip will bring 30 per­cent faster graph­ics than the 835, an im­pres­sive tech­ni­cal in­crease over an al­ready pow­er­ful chip, but one that’s not likely to be all that no­tice­able in real-world use.

The real speed boost will come from the mo­dem. The 845 uses the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion X20 Gi­ga­bit LTE mo­dem, which sup­ports for 1.2Gb/s Gi­ga­bit LTE Cat­e­gory 18 as well as multi­gi­ga­bit 802.11ad Wi-Fi for even faster down­loads. Of course, your mileage will vary de­pend­ing on the net­work, but Qual­comm says the new mo­dem will al­low users to down­load a 3GB movie in less than three min­utes over LTE.

2. They’ll last longer

The 835 brought se­ri­ous gains in bat­tery life, with many phones us­ing the chip eas­ily mak­ing it through a full day of reg­u­lar use. Qual­comm says the 845 will be 30 per­cent more power-ef­fi­cient than the 835, which could push phones into a sec­ond day with­out need­ing to be charged. Qual­comm has fo­cused on op­ti­miz­ing the chip’s cores with the 845, so the pro­ces­sor will be able to de­lin­eate tasks in­tel­li­gently

based on power needs. As a re­sult, video record­ing will uti­lize 30 per­cent less power. Thanks to the new Adreno Foveation sys­tem, which uses eye-track­ing to de­ter­mine which ar­eas of the screen to fully ren­der, graph­ics-in­ten­sive games and apps won’t har­poon your bat­tery life, ei­ther.

3. They’ll be smarter

Last year, Huawei re­leased the Mate 10 with a ded­i­cated Neu­ral Pro­cess­ing Unit, and the Snap­dragon 845 isn’t about to be out­smarted. The third gen­er­a­tion of the neu­ral pro­cess­ing en­gine will fully un­leash An­droid phones’ ma­chine learn­ing and AI ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Qual­comm says the 845 will sup­port AI frame­works such as Google’s Ten­sorFlowLite and Face­book’s Caffe2, as well as be­ing op­ti­mized for newer net­works. Us­ing a new Hexagon Dig­i­tal Sig­nal Pro­ces­sor, the chip will be three times faster with AI per­for­mance, mean­ing phones will be more ef­fi­cient and use less

power for com­mon and repet­i­tive tasks. It’ll also use a low-power au­dio sub­sys­tem for dig­i­tal as­sis­tants, so talk­ing to your phone all day won’t kill your bat­tery.

4. Your pic­tures and video will be even bet­ter

The cam­eras on our smart­phones only do part of the work when it comes to tak­ing pic­tures. Much of the heavy lift­ing is han­dled by im­age sig­nal pro­ces­sors. Qual­comm’s Spec­tra 280 ISP has been greatly im­proved in the Snap­dragon 845. In­stead of en­hanc­ing the res­o­lu­tion, which has pretty much been maxed out on smart­phones, the new chip fo­cuses on colour vol­ume, mean­ing photos will be richer, deeper, and more ac­cu­rate than be­fore.

The new chip will be able to take bet­ter photos in low light, thanks to multi-frame noise re­duc­tion, faster auto-fo­cus, and ac­cel­er­ated im­age sta­bi­liza­tion. The ISP will also en­able bet­ter por­traits with depth-based face recog­ni­tion. On the video side, it will en­able ul­tra HD pre­mium video cap­ture for 4K 60fps video, as well as 720p 480fps slow-mo­tion video cap­ture.

5. Se­cu­rity will be locked down

Like Ap­ple’s Se­cure En­clave, Qual­comm is in­tro­duc­ing a Se­cure Pro­cess­ing Unit on the Snap­dragon 845 that will keep your data from fall­ing into the wrong hands. With its own ded­i­cated pro­ces­sor, the SPU will set up a ‘se­cure is­land’ to pro­tect fin­ger­print, iris, and face biometric scans. The se­cure chip will also store pay­ment in­for­ma­tion and SIM card data for ul­ti­mate peace of mind.

The Snap­dragon 845 will bring big changes

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