Every year Qualcomm launches a premium mobile processor that usually finds its way into the top Android phones of the next 12 months, and it’s just unveiled the Snapdragon 855 system-on-a-chip (SoC) for 2019. Its headline features are 5G connectivity and yet more AI performance boosts.
Qualcomm on Tuesday unveiled the Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform, the first of a new generation of mobile phone processor chips that will power 5G smartphones in the United States as soon as next year. The key feature of the Snapdragon 855 chip, launched at an event in Hawaii, is the 5G Snapdragon X50 modem for phones to connect to 5G wireless data networks with “multi-gigabit” mobile data speeds of up to 50 or 100 times faster than current 4G networks.
Qualcomm, the largest supplier of mobile phone chips, said Snapdragon 855 would power Samsung 5G smartphones that Verizon Communications and Samsung said on Monday would be released in the United States in the first half of 2019. More details about the SoC will be unveiled at the annual Snapdragon Technology Summit in Hawaii.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is said to feature the company’s fourth generation, multi-core Qualcomm AI Engine, with up to three times the AI performance compared to the previous generation mobile platform. Qualcomm also said the Snapdragon 855 would feature the world’s first Computer Vision (CV) ISP to also enable help phones recognise objects and faces, and power new video capture features.
Finally, the company added that the Snapdragon 855 would support a new Qualcomm ultrasonic fingerprint sensor – called Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor – that can read a user’s fingerprint through the glass screen of a smartphone. “This is the only mobile solution that can accurately detect fingerprints through numerous contaminants. Furthermore, this technology enables sleek, cutting-edge form factors while distinguishing itself from alternatives with higher levels of security and accuracy,” it said in its blog post.
The Samsung phone would be a major challenge for Apple, its biggest rival in the premium handset market in the United States as the iPhone maker is locked in a legal battle with Qualcomm. Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported on Monday that Apple would wait until at least 2020 to release its first 5G iPhones.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 will be the first mobile processor to support multi-gigabit 5G connections. The Snapdragon 855 is the first chipset from Qualcomm with a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which will help in AI computations. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC is focused on Gaming, Artificial Intelligence, and photography. As of now, there is no information regarding the Snapdragon X50 Modem (whether it will be integrated or not).
The Snapdragon 855 chipset comes with the next generation GPU, the Adreno 640 with “Snapdragon Elite Gaming,” which will enhance the overall GPU performance while gaming. The Snapdragon Elite Gaming will be a software optimization, which will work according to the games or app that a user is playing.
The chipset will be available for OEMs from the next few weeks, and Qualcomm has confirmed that companies like Samsung, LG, Sony, Xiaomi, Google, Sony, and OnePlus will launch smartphones based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 in the Q1 or Q2 of 2019.
Qualcomm Incorporated is an American multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services. It derives most of its revenue from chipmaking and the bulk of its profit from patent licensing businesses.
The company headquarters is located in San Diego, California, United States, and has 224 worldwide locations. The parent company is Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm), which includes the Qualcomm Technology Licensing Division (QTL). Qualcomm’s wholly owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), operates substantially all of Qualcomm’s R&D activities.
Mobile phone standards:
Qualcomm pioneered the commercialization of the cdmaOne (IS-95) standard for wireless cellular communications, following up with CDMA2000, an early standard for third-generation (3G) mobile.
Today, the company is the leading patent holder in advanced 3G mobile technologies, including CDMA2000 1xEV-DO and its evolutions; WCDMA and its higher-speed variant known as HSPA and its evolutions; and TD-SCDMA; as well as patents on 4G. The license streams from the patents on these inventions, and related products, are a major component of Qualcomm’s business.
In June 2011, Qualcomm announced that it would release a set of application programming interfaces geared to give Web-based applications deeper links into hardware.