Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC Unveiled With 5G Modem, Improved AI Performance

Ruben Fields
December 5, 2018

United States telecom carrier Verizon and Samsung have announced to jointly launch one of the first commercial 5G smartphones in the United States in the first half of 2019.

AT&T is also offering 5G service with a rollout in 12 U.S. cities this year, and plans to add service in seven other cities in early 2019, as reported by TechRepublic.

For the next three days Qualcomm is holding its annual Snapdragon Summit in Maui, where the company is expected to reveal new and improved Snapdragon mobile processors, and with the help of carriers across the globe, layout plans for 5G networks heading into 2019.

The carrier, which is set to merge with T-Mobile in 2019, stated that it's now "one of Samsung's biggest customers" and that it's definitely "working with them".

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The Snapdragon 855 will have a Snapdragon X50 modem, built specifically to answer demands for 5G connectivity.

Qualcomm is now hosting its Snapdragon Summit, so expect more details on the Snapdragon 855 to be revealed in the coming days. They'll not only be smarter and more responsive but will tap into the super-fast 5G network, shoot better photos and recognize images, and let us securely unlock our phones using in-screen fingerprint readers. Although Intel promised to ship its own 5G modem in 2019, Apple is expected to launch devices with 5G modems only in 2020.

The GPU promises a performance boost of 20% over Qualcomm's current offering, too, while also receiving new features such as support for Vulkan 1.1 support, HDR10+ (a first for mobile), and physically-based rendering, all of which should contribute to more realistic-looking games, according to Qualcomm. It's promising to run through the specifics of the mobile platform tomorrow, on the second day of its Snapdragon Summit 2018. "Now, we are partnering to create a smartphone to put the power of 5G in the palm of your hand", he added. Beyond that, there's not much else we can tell you today.

The other big new feature that was announced was the Spectra ISP, which will have the world's first computer vision hardware integrated with it. We should be getting more information about these features from the official launch event. Lastly, the company announced the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor-an under-display fingerprint sensor solution that uses ultrasonic waves, unlike optical under-display fingerprint sensors which use light.

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