Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 features and specifications: Leak

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 features and specifications: Leak

The Snapdragon 855 is the first chipset from Qualcomm with a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which will help in AI computations.

The report claims the company will save 5G for an upcoming device set to be released later in 2019, so you may have to wait a while to get the biggest benefit from the Snapdragon 855. (It's unclear if this pattern will continue with the S10.) Samsung is at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit 2019 where the Snapdragon 855 has been unveiled, which we're taking that to mean the company is nearly certain to include the new Snapdragon on its next flagship.

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Qualcomm designs the mobile processors used in most high-end Android smartphones. The hotspot is powered with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem. Without 5G, the 855 is just another process shrink (rumors peg this as Qualcomm's first 7nm chipset), which is no small achievement (PUN!), but not much of a compelling marketing story. Although Intel promised to ship its own 5G modem in 2019, Apple is expected to launch devices with 5G modems only in 2020.

It's been clear for a while now that 2019 will be the year of 5G, and it's little surprise at this point that the Snapdragon 855 will support "multi-gigabit" data speeds on 5G networks as they light up around the country. However, the company did give us a sneak peek at some of tomorrow's announcements. This NPU should triple the performance of devices equipped with Snapdragon 855 during these specific tasks compared to the previous generation. There's a computer vision ISP (image signal processor) for better photography in there, too, as well as a fourth generation AI engine.

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It also supports Qualcomm's 3D Sonic Sensors, which are ultrasonic fingerprint readers that can be placed under smartphone displays, tucking them out of sight and doing away with fingerprint sensors in buttons. The Snapdragon Elite Gaming will be a software optimization, which will work according to the games or app that a user is playing. The new sensors from Qualcomm can recognize the fingerprints even if the display is dirty or covered with a screen protector. The name and initial details were unveiled during the company's annual "Tech Summit" in Hawaii, where it's taking a full week to unveil its upcoming plans for mobile computing and networks. We're out at the Summit as guests of Qualcomm, and will be bringing you all the news this week. Enter your email to be subscribed to our newsletter.

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