Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 855 With 3x AI Performance

Qualcomm Unveils Snapdragon 855 Processor for 5G Phones

Because of Qualcomm's dominance in the mobile space, particularly in the United States, the Snapdragon 855 will appear in most major flagship phones in 2019. All you really need to know is that your voice assistant will be faster, it'll hear you better, that sort of thing.

The headline numbers are impressive. However what's really interesting is how Qualcomm has opted to deliver that. Snapdragon 855 comes with a special "gold" core for performance boost which is clocked at 2.84GHz, created to handle the toughest of tasks easily. Each core has its own L2 cache, and shares a unified L3 cache.

During a company event in Hawaii, Alex Katouzian, senior VP and GM of mobile for Qualcomm Technologies, claimed the new Snapdragon 855 chip delivers more performance than its existing counterparts. Although carriers in the USA and overseas are planning to light up their first commercial 5G coverage in 2019, it'll be some time before anywhere close to a significant percentage of the population have access to a 5G signal.

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And let's talk about connectivity: the Snapdragon 855 comes with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G model, introducing 5G support for both Sub-6 GHz and mmWave frequency bands.

The Snapdragon 855 mobile processor may have just been announced, but it's already gotten at least one phone maker to reveal its plans for the new chipset. Because of this change, Qualcomm has taken to referring to the Spectra 380 as the world's first computer vision image signal processor. This means that with HEIF image files users can add a portrait depth of field effect to an image, even if they didn't use their phone's portrait mode functionality to capture the image originally. The new 3D Sonic Sensor uses ultrasonic scanning, rather than the optical systems now available on devices like the OnePlus 6T. This makes it far more accurate than optical sensors that compare the pattern of the fingerprint.

Samsung, Ericsson and other equipment and device makers also attended.

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Qualcomm has branded its innovative new fingerprint scanner "3D Sonic Sensor". It's unclear if OnePlus would speed up that release schedule so that it can be first with the Snapdragon 855. However it seems we won't have long to wait. Samsung, Apple's chief rival in the high-end smartphone business, has said that it will have a 5G phone on Verizon, AT&T and other networks by the first part of next year.

In fact, though, it'll be OnePlus which ushers in the Snapdragon 855 age. Whether that first, 855-based handset is the OnePlus 7 remains to be seen.

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