Finally!!, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 has been revealed and it’s set to be the first mobile chipset to bring 5G to smartphones. Unveiled at the company’s third Tech Summit in Hawaii, the new processor will come to smartphones next year, with Samsung confirming it will be among the first wave of devices to be released in 2019.
Qualcomm also showed off, for the first time, a fully fledged reference smartphone containing the new 5G chip technology. So far we’ve only seen circuit boards or bulky angular test devices. Even Qualcomm’s own development devices haven’t really resembled a proper smartphone so far, so this represents a significant step forward in the move towards 5G.
The first phones with the Snapdragon 855 inside will almost certainly be announced in February at MWC, with the first phones available from around March 2019. The key feature that Snapdragon 855 will bring, of course, will be 5G integration. As usual, though, Qualcomm will also be boosting performance and adding features across the board.
Qualcomm is currently drip-feeding us details about the Snapdragon 855 and hasn’t unveiled full details just yet but it has given us a teaser of the chip’s major new features.
Chief among these is its new, fourth-generation “AI Engine”.
This brings a “3x” performance improvement over the third-generation tech inside the 845 and it’s also twice as fast as its “7nm” rivals, by which Qualcomm presumably means the Kirin 980 (Huawei Mate 20 Pro) and the A12 Bionic (Apple iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR).
Finally, the Snapdragon 855 looks set to introduce a collection of improvements aimed at mobile gamers, under the umbrella term “Snapdragon Elite Gaming”, and it also took the opportunity to announce a rebrand of its ultra-sonic under-screen fingerprint sensor, now dubbed “Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor”. This will allow you to unlock your phone even with wet or greasy fingers, it says.