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Galaxy S10 could take portrait videos and double the photos using new Snapdragon 855 chip

If the anticipated Galaxy S10 has superfast 5G connectivity and an in-screen fingerprint reader, you’ll be able to thank Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 processor. Qualcomm is the world’s largest provider of chipsets for cell phones, and its newest will drive main Android units in 2019, possible together with flagship handsets from Samsung, Google and LG.

At Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii this week, companions like Samsung, OnePlus, Verizon and AT&T talked up their plans for 5G units and networks in 2019. Samsung, as an example, stated it’ll launch 5G telephones in the US in the first half of 2019, and will work with AT&T and Verizon on a complete of three fashions. OnePlus introduced its first 5G phone, which is able to go to Europe.

The processor will possible present the brains and community connectivity for many high-end Android smartphones hitting the market in 2019 (Huawei makes use of its personal Kirin chip for telephones). Nearly each main handset vendor works with Qualcomm, with one huge exception: Apple designs its personal chips to energy its units and now, amid a licensing battle with Qualcomm, depends on Intel’s modems for connectivity.

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The Snapdragon 855 chip is smaller than your thumbnail.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

For non-Apple high-end telephones, the Snapdragon 855 has rather a lot to supply. It allows higher digicam processing capabilities, like with the ability to shoot videos in 4K HDR and detect who and what’s in entrance of the digicam.

It’s the first chip to work with Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Sensor, an ultrasonic fingerprint reader that is embedded proper into the show itself. And the Snapdragon 855 is also the first main processor to assist 5G wi-fi connectivity — however notably, 5G is not embedded onto Snapdragon 855 itself.

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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 can allow 4K portrait mode…



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And whereas the Snapdragon 855’s capabilities sound spectacular, none of that issues if handset makers using the 855 processor of their premium telephones decide to not use all of Qualcomm’s options.

Secure ‘ultrasonic’ fingerprint sensor constructed into the display

The Snapdragon 855 is the first chip to work with Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Sensor, an ultrasonic fingerprint reader that is embedded proper into the show itself. As smartphone makers have stretched the screens of their units throughout the whole entrance of the show, they’ve both ditched the house button totally (Apple) or moved the fingerprint reader to the again of the gadget. The 3D Sonic Sensor will allow them to return the fingerprint reader to the entrance of the cellphone however nonetheless have a show that fills the whole entrance of the gadget.

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An early have a look at the ultrasonic fingerprint reader possible…



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Samsung is extensively anticipated to roll out an in-screen fingerprint reader with the Galaxy S10 early subsequent yr. It’s possible many others will comply with.

Shoot portrait-style videos

You understand how portrait photos blur the background whereas conserving the topic in focus? Portrait mode for video guarantees to do the identical in a shifting clip. The Snapdragon 855 chip is the first to place portrait mode right into a 4K HDR video.

The function tracks the most important topic, so you will may even swap out the background for one thing else, say a tropical island setting. Even with all the computational muscle required, Qualcomm claims you will nonetheless see not less than 4 occasions the energy financial savings.

And talking of video, telephones using the Snapdragon 855 chip can seize 4K video at 60fps — whereas saving energy (30 p.c) in comparison with earlier 4K video captured at 30fps.

Store twice the photos and videos

This one’s somewhat obscure, however keep on with us as a result of it is sneaky-cool. Phones that use Snapdragon 855 will be capable of take benefit of the know-how in the newest iPhones. HEIF, or High Efficiency Image Format, squeezes down your photos to half the measurement of an bizarre JPEG, with out dropping picture high quality. That means it will take you numerous longer to expire of area.

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You’ll be capable of save double the photos and video with Snapdragon 855.


Angela Lang/CNET

Moreover, HEIF serves as a container for quite a lot of photos, so you’ll be able to retailer a standard nonetheless, a uncooked file, burst mode photos and a depth map all inside the identical “container”. For instance, on a cellphone with three rear cameras, you’d be capable of seize and maintain the telephoto, wide-angle and super-wide-angle views directly, and repurpose them any time.

The benefit right here, aside from area financial savings, is that Qualcomm designed the 855 chip to course of HEIF information rapidly and at low energy. Read more.

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Talk to a number of AI assistants directly

What in the event you like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa — why ought to you need to select? Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip will let cellphone makers assist a number of voice assistants. Some telephones have executed this in the previous, however you needed to obtain further apps and could solely use separately. It is not utterly clear how this works, however we’ll hopefully study extra in an upcoming demo. It’ll assist Google Assistant, Alexa, Baidu DuerOS and extra.

Qualcomm can also be using AI to combat echoes and background noise that may intervene with voice assistant. The finish result’s that it’s best to be capable of speak to the assistant with much less frustration.

AI additionally powers the futuristic function of voice matching, in order that your cellphone will solely reply to you. Someone else making an attempt to get up your cellphone using their voice will not be capable of entry the gadget. This function could pave the manner for voice unlocking capabilities in the future.

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The Razer Phone excels at gaming, however the high-refresh display and superb audio system make it nice for all method of leisure.


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Use much less energy whereas watching videos

A new function in the Snapdragon 855, known as Cinema Core, provides you as much as seven occasions the energy financial savings whereas watching videos from companies like Amazon Video.

Cinema Core additionally will make HDR10+ playback doable for the first time on cell units. HDR promises improved image quality over customary dynamic vary video, with brighter highlights and extra lifelike colours. The HDR10+ model, created by Samsung, incorporates dynamic metadata that enables a excessive dynamic vary show to regulate brightness ranges on a scene-by-scene and even frame-by-frame foundation, bettering the image high quality.

Access extra realistic-looking video games and VR videos

The Snapdragon 855’s new Adreno 640 GPU has 30 p.c quicker efficiency, one thing that can allow HDR gaming. Like the function in watching videos, HDR makes the photos look extra lifelike. Qualcomm says HDR gaming on smartphones can have over a billion shades of colours.

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5G telephones are coming, beginning in the first half of 2019.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

And the firm additionally has a new lighting and texture method known as “physically based rendering.” It can do issues like replicate the impact of solar rays reflecting off bricks. That degree of element beforehand wasn’t doable on cell units, Qualcomm stated.

Games additionally will run smoother, due to Snapdragon 855’s customized algorithms that had been designed to cut back dropped frames by over 90 p.c. Lower latency improves multiplayer gaming.

For VR, the Snapdragon 855 allows immersive, 8K resolutions at 120 frames per second.

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What about 5G?

Next yr’s high-end telephones — the most important units that can use the Snapdragon 855 — are all about 5G. But 5G really is not built-in onto the Snapdragon 855 itself. Instead, connecting to the new, superfast community requires further chips from Qualcomm, together with the X50 modem.

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It’s possible handset makers will launch some units that solely use 4G LTE and save the 5G fashions for his or her most vital, highest-end telephones. Qualcomm’s Amon instructed CNET that by the vacation 2019, every Android handset maker using Snapdragon will offer 5G connectivity for his or her flagship telephones in the US.

If a handset maker opts for simply the Snapdragon 855 however no 5G modem, your cellphone will be capable of obtain information at as much as 2 gigabits per second due to the built-in X24 modem. That’s double the earlier quickest LTE, letting you do one thing like obtain 7GB of Ultra HD video on Netflix in 28 seconds.

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Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon talked up partnerships with electronics makers throughout a keynote Tuesday at the Snapdragon Technology Summit. 


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If mixed with the X50 modem, although, customers can anticipate as much as 20 occasions quicker common efficiency in comparison with LTE at this time, Qualcomm stated.

Snapdragon 855 additionally comes filled with the newest Wi-Fi know-how, known as 802.11ay. It allows low latency and speeds as much as 10 Gbps.

The nitty-gritty

Time to get extra technical. The Snapdragon 855 is constructed using 7-nanometer course of know-how, the most superior method accessible at this time. A key a part of semiconductor manufacturing is shrinking the parts known as transistors — terribly tiny digital switches that course of information for every little thing from microwave oven clocks to artificial intelligence algorithms working in our telephones. The smaller the transistors, the higher the battery life and efficiency.

Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, present in the iPhone XS and XS Max, grew to become the world’s first 7nm processor when it launched in September. Now high-end Android telephones too can have 7nm chips.

Also new in the Snapdragon 855 is the Kryo 485 CPU constructed on Arm’s Cortex Technology. That boosts efficiency as much as 45 p.c from final yr’s Snapdragon 845. And the new Adreno 640 GPU offers as much as 20 p.c quicker graphics.

Originally revealed Dec 5, 2018 at 9:57 a.m. PT.
Updated Dec. 6 at 6:00 a.m. PT: Added extra particulars.

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