The Snapdragon 855's performance is three times better than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 845. The name and initial details were unveiled during the company's annual "Tech Summit" in Hawaii, where it's taking a full week to unveil its upcoming plans for mobile computing and networks. For example, Verizon announced yesterday that Samsung will release a 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019.
Shortly after Verizon announced its plans to launch a Samsung 5G-ready smartphone in 2019, AT&T also joined the club today, with the major carriers in the USA pledging support for the Korean giant.
In terms of more traditional specs, the Snapdragon 855 is expected to be a 7nm, octa-core processor with Adreno 640 graphics and a Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem as well as a Snapdragon X24 LTE modem.
Qualcomm's 3D Sonic Sensor will start showing up in phones, an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that promises fast and accurate unlocking (superior to optical sensors).
According to Qualcomm, this new processor will support "multi-gigabit" 5G download speeds, and it should be an expectation to see this new chipset in most of the major flagship smartphones launched throughout 2019.
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The new mobile platform comes with a new HEVC and VP9 codec decoder that is seven times more efficient, and Qualcomm claims this means you won't need to look for the charging cable while watching movies on Snapdragon 855-powered devices in the future. This is an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader that Qualcomm says will read your fingerprint even if its wet or oily. Given which phones debuted with Qualcomm's top-of-the-line chipset in recent years, it's not a big leap of logic to assume 2019 flagship devices from Samsung, LG, HTC and Google would at least have the option of adopting that feature. The energy efficiency ratio of the Snapdragon 855 will be more prominent.
Alex Katouzian, Qualcomm senior vice president and general manager of mobile, said Tuesday that the Snapdragon 855 will contain the company's fourth-generation AI engine. That will enable computational photography and video capture features, which we're hoping to hear more about when Qualcomm discusses its new mobile processor in greater depth this week.
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Earlier this year, Qualcomm announced the world's first 5G modem, the X50, which is supposed to increase download speeds by up to 20x over what most mobile users now experience.