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December 6, 2017

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 doubles down on cameras and AI

by John_A

The next-generation mobile processor that you’ll most likely find in many of next year’s major flagships is here. At its second annual tech summit today, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 845, which is its latest “premium” mobile CPU. The chipset will retain the same 10nm footprint as its predecessor, but feature revamped architecture that brings about new features like 4K HDR video capture on smartphones and improved AI processing. That’s in addition to the typical performance and power-consumption upgrades from last year’s chip. Qualcomm said it’s focusing on AI, Immersion, security, connectivity and immersion with the new chip.

The Snapdragon 845 will feature an Adreno 630 graphics processor and Qualcomm’s Spectra 280 image signal processor (ISP) which we previewed last year. The company’s graphics lead, Tim Leland, explained that the ISP allow for “Ultra HD premium” video capture at 60 (16-megapixel) frames per second. Qualcomm believes the Snapdragon 845 will be so good at photography that the phones powered by this chip will score above 100 on DxOMark.

With Ultra HD color capture, Leland says cameras can capture more color volume than before, whereas mobile photography in the past few years have focused on recording higher resolution. The Spectra ISP collects more color data with a combination of three methods – moving from 8-bit to 10-bit color, expanding its color gamut from Rec 709 to Rec 2020, and increasing luminance (the brightness of an object).

That’s a lot of jargon to parse through, but basically, the chip can process more shades of the same color, giving it more depth, more colors and different levels of brightness for the same hue. That allows for more nuance in image quality.

The first devices to pack Snapdragon 845 will arrive in early 2018, and we’re learning more about what the new chip can do from the event.

This story is developing…

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