Companies like Apple and Huawei, in their new processors, have tried to improve the AI performance. The AI capabilities of Snapdragon 845 is touted to be 3 times better than its predecessor. This improvement was possible because of the architectural changes inside of Snapdragon 845, the developers will now have access to specific cores, where they can tap the Hexagon 683 DSP, the GPU, or the Kryo 385 CPU. Qualcomm has also improved voice-driven smart assistants with features like improved always-on keyboard detection and ultra-low-power voice processing. A new Qualcomm Agstic audio codec (WCD9341) and low-power audio subsystem has been introduced to enhance the experience with voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
To further help the developers build new AI solutions for Snapdragon 845 devices, the chipmaker has upgraded its Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine (NPE) SDK with support for Google’s TensorFlow Lite framework and the new Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX). This upgrade has enabled the developers to use any of their preferred frameworks, like Caffe2, NCTK, TensorFlow, and MxNet. Additionally, Google’s Android NN API is also supported.
Security is a top preference for Qualcomm, and it’s quite evident from the security solutions Qualcomm has provided in their new chip set.
They have added a separate “Secure Processing Unit” (SPU) which has its own processor.
The fingerprint/iris scanner data will be much more secure in the future as all of this will be handled by the SPU alone. Additionally, SPU can handle payments, transit, and SIM card security.
Qualcomm has also included a random number generator, memory and power island that defends the system from breaches. Every time the user do something like take a picture, download a file, or make a video, the generator will generate a unique key that is required to decrypt the data in that file. A key can also be generated for text messages in apps like Messenger or Whatsapp using SPU.
The fact that the SPU is completely isolated from the rest of the chip, makes it impossible to hack. This hardware isolated subsystem can also allow the manufacturers to develop an advanced user or application data key management to encrypt critical data with a hardware-level security.
Well a phone is basically useless without connectivity. To take care of it, the Snapdragon 845 is equipped with Qualcomm’s second-generation Gigabit LTE system, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem. Qualcomm promises wireless fibre-like speeds with this system. It supports a range of frequency band configurations and provides high-speed data access over them. The X20 modem supports LTE Category 18 peak download speeds of 1.2Gbps up to five times carrier aggregation, License Assisted Access (LAA), Dual SIM-Dual VoLTE, along with 4×4 MIMO on up to three aggregated carriers. The chip is also compatible with configurations for the unreleased 5G system.
The chip also has the diversity-enhanced 60Ghz 802.11ad Wi-Fi system that deliver multi-gigabit coverage at a speed of up to 4.6Gbps. It also includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi with some changes to give 16 times faster connection setup, simultaneous dual-band support, and 30 percent more capacity utilization on carrier Wi-Fi networks, compared to the previous generations.
Other than that, the 845 has Bluetooth 5.0 that can transmit audio simultaneously to multiple wireless speakers and other connected devices. This is also said to reduce the battery consumption of wireless headsets by up to 50 percent as compared to the previous Bluetooth tech.
The new Snapdragon 845 is said to be around 25-30% faster than its predecessor, the 835. The performance of the phone is maintained by 8 of Qualcomm’s custom Kryo 385 cores, which consists of four A75 cores that run up to 2.8 GHz compared to the 2.4 GHz on the 835 and four A55 cores that run up to clock speeds of 1.8 GHz.
The four performance cores (A75) take care of the performance-heavy applications and tasks, like heavy gaming etc. while the less intense tasks are handled by the four efficiency cores (A55) to increase the battery life.
Qualcomm claims that Snapdragon 845 is around 30% more power efficient than the Snapdragon 835.
For the graphics department, the new Adreno 630 GPU is said to be both 30 percent faster and 30 percent more power efficient than the Adreno 540 on the Snapdragon 835. This extra graphic performance will help improve the mobile VR experiences on a Gear VR or Google Daydream.
Adreno 630, when combined with Qualcomm’s new Multiview rendering, the chipset is said to be able to achieve 120 fps at 2k x 2k resolutions.
The Snapdragon 845 will be manufactured using Samsung’s second generation 10nm LPP FinFET process technology. It was rumoured in the past that Qualcomm will go with the 7nm process for the 845. Samsung says that the 10nm LPP process provides performance increase of up to 10 percent at the same power levels or reduced power consumption of up to 15 percent at the same performance as compared to the 10nm LPE process used for the SD835.
Other features of the Snapdragon 845 includes Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ which can charge your device from 0 to 50 % in 15 minutes and Adreno foveation to improve the battery performance on future SD845-powered devices. Qualcomm has made some changes to enable the hardware to register touchscreen inputs even when it’s wet which can be something targeted for the water-resistant devices.
Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile, Qualcomm Technologies, in a statement said, “The Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform is the next horizon of innovation and is going to transform the way people use their mobile devices to make their lives better,”
As far as availability is concerned, Qualcomm has already started sampling the Snapdragon 845 to its major clients that means we can expect SD845 powered devices in early 2018.