Qualcomm announced details of its new Snapdragon 845 mobile chip on Wednesday during its event in Hawaii, and it offers a good idea of what improvements and features we can expect from phones that will run on the new chips.
Timing-wise, Qualcomm expects the chip’s release as soon as 2018, so we could potentially see the next generation of top Android devices from Samsung, Google, LG, HTC, and others running on the new Snapdragon 845 next year.
As expected, the chip should bring general improvements to performance and battery life. It will also allow Android phone makers to improve photo and video capture quality, as well as improving the functionality of AR, VR, and mixed-reality applications. Smart AI assistants, like Google’s Assistant, will also get an intelligence boost.
Check out what we can expect from Snapdragon 845-powered Android phones:
Android phones will be more power efficient for even better battery life.
Battery life on many of the top Android phones is very good, especially on the Pixel 2 phones. That’s partly due to the current power-efficient Snapdragon 835 processor running many top Android phones today.
We can expect even better battery life, with 2018-2019 Android phones as Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 845 will be 30% more power efficient than the 835.
Photos will be even sharper and clearer, especially in low light.
The Snapdragon 845 chip will let Android phones take advantage of a photography technology called “multi-frame noise reduction” for images up to 16 megapixels. It will allow 2018-2019 Android phones to take up to 60 photos per second and combine them into one photo to reduce “noise,” which is that grainy look you most often see in low-light photos.
It will add a feature to video recording that will make videos look amazing.
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 845 chip will allow Android phones to record 4K video in HDR (high dynamic range) at a smooth 60 frames per second (fps). Videos recorded in 4K HDR from smartphones will look fantastic on 4K HDR TVs.
HDR is a feature that enhances contrast ratio. That’s to say it enhances colours, especially those the brighter and darker ends of the spectrum. As my former colleague Jeff Dunn put it: “The result is a picture that is more vivid, and more importantly, noticeably more life-like. Colours are less muted, and objects appear to have more depth. It’s not a gimmick so much as a straight improvement.”
It will also allow 2018-2019 Android phone cameras to take videos with a wider colour gamut, which could bring even more fine colour shades to videos.
So far, no smartphone can record video in HDR, despite the fact that several phones from 2017 have HDR-capable displays.
The Snapdragon 845 will also let Android phones record 720p video at a whopping 480 fps, which is twice as many frames per second as current smartphones that can record in 240 fps for slow-motion. It should make for ultra-smooth slow-motion that can slow down extremely fast movement.
It will be faster and more powerful than current 2017 Android phones.
Qualcomm claims the new Snapdragon 845 will be 25% more powerful than the current Snapdragon 835, and 30% more powerful for games.
It will bring great improvements to AR, VR, and mixed-reality applications.
The Snapdragon 845 will allow you to physically move in AR, VR, and mixed-reality applications, much like you can with HTC/Valve’s Vive VR headset. When you physically move forward, you’ll move forwards in a VR game, for example. The feature is called “6DoF,” which stands for 6 degrees of freedom.
Qualcomm’s new chip will also come with features that help VR, AR, and mixed-reality apps prevent you from colliding into walls and objects while you move around.
We’ll also see an overall improvement in AR, VR, and mixed reality visual quality, performance, and power consumption.
2018-2019 smartphones will be even smarter.
AI performance on 2018-2019 Android phones running on the Snapdragon 845 will be tripled, which will help voice assistants better understand more natural ways of speaking.
Better AI will also make it easier to take good photos and videos, according to Qualcomm. Camera features like Portrait Mode, which use AI to identify the subject in the frame, will also get performance boosts.