Meet Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855: AI boosts, a smarter camera, mobile gaming—and bye-bye, JPEG

From PC World: A year ago, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 845, the brains behind flagship smartphones like the Google Pixel 3, the U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy S9, OnePlus phones, and others. Now, Qualcomm’s next-generation Snapdragon 855 promises those platforms even more enhancements: dedicated logic blocks for digital assistants, revamped camera logic for computer vision, specific gaming boosts. It also gives the traditional JPEG file format the boot.

According to Qualcomm executives, the goal for the Snapdragon 855 is to “unlock” AI and XR (mixed reality), with the new 5G capabilities leading the way. The company claims that it’s offering the first commercial mobile platform to support this trifecta.

Qualcomm’s next-generation 855 is due to ship during the first half of 2019, meaning that phone makers will be able to design and announce their own Snapdragon 855-based phones for launch later in 2019.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips are truly systems-on-a-chip (SoC), with an improved Adreno GPU and Kryo CPU, a Hexagon DSP that’s being repurposed for AI, and an increasingly more intelligent Spectra camera signal processor—often a key feature for phone buyers. Though each of the 855’s subsystems has been improved in its own right, Qualcomm also made one significant, overall improvement: While the Snapdragon 845 was manufactured on a 10nm process, Qualcomm has made the leap to 7nm with the Snapdragon 855.

Travis Lanier, Qualcomm’s senior director of product management, put it simply: The Snapdragon 855 will deliver 45 percent more performance than the 845 in the Kryo GPU, and 20 percent more performance in the Adreno GPU.

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