Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform Unleashed; Here Are the Details

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform Unleashed; Here Are the Details

Yesterday, we were introduced to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform and the fact that it would be an integral part of the upcoming 5G network experience. Let’s dig a bit more into what benefits the Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform will provide people like us — those who use and rely on their cellphones.

5G Connectivity

We’re all used to 4G/LTE now, but can you remember how it was back when 3G was the norm and we were waiting for 4G/LTE to roll out across the US? Once it finally did, we all enjoyed faster speeds and better battery life from our smartphones — to the point where 3G became painful to use when we were forced to. So, what can we expect with 5G?

The Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform comes with the first LTE modem to support 2 Gbps Cat20 speeds. This modem is also the first to support Wi-Fi 6, which we hear could eventually become the dominant Wi-Fi standard.

As operators launch 5G networks in early 2019, consumers will for the first time be able to take advantage of transformative 5G consumer experiences on mobile devices with Snapdragon 855. We are proud to share our technology inventions and be among the first to bring mobile 5G to the world. – Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager, mobile, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform Unleashed; Here Are the Details

Better Performance All-Around

You’ll be able to expect up to a 45% performance improvement from the Snapdragon 855 previous generation Snapdragon. The new Adreno 640 GPU will provide up to 20% faster graphics over its predecessor!

Improved Artificial Intelligence

Would you believe that Qualcomm has been baking AI into their chipsets for some time, and the 855 contains Qualcomm’s 4th generation AI engine? The Hexagon 690 inside of the Snapdragon 855 has been rebuilt and so the AI experience is even better and more advanced than before. As a result, the Snapdragon 855 has 3x the AI performance as the Snapdragon 845.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform Unleashed; Here Are the Details

The Smartest and Best Camera Yet

The Snapdragon 855 brings will bring huge improvements to the camera that you always carry (yes, I mean your smartphone), because of the new Qualcomm Spectra 380 ISP, which ‘integrates numerous hardware accelerated computer vision (CV) capabilities, enabling the world’s first announced CV-ISP to provide cutting-edge computational photography and video capture features while at the same time offering up to 4x power savings.”  This not only helps with photography, but it also speeds up Extended Reality (XR). It allows for depth-sensing at 60fps, support for 4K HDR video recording at 60fps, and video recording using HDR10+ with more than 1 billion shades of color captured.

New to the 855 is Real-time object Segmentation which allows the camera to identify what it’s pointed at, whether it be people, objects, or the scenery in the background of a shot. Imagine being able to replace the background in a video that you are shooting in real-time with a different background! “This means a user can capture a video and accurately replace selected objects or backgrounds in the scene in real-time all with 4K HDR resolution using over 1 billion shades of color.”

In order to more efficiently store the content and information that will go into every photo taken, Snapdragon 855 adds hardware acceleration for HEIF (High-Efficiency Image File) format encoding. While it will reduce file sizes by 50% for more efficient saving and sending, HEIF can actually store even more information in the actual photo, so that your photos can be manipulated years from now.

Think about this: most devices have two to three cameras now, and when you press your shutter button, three photos are captured. You have to choose which to use, but with HEIF, you can store all three as one file. You can store burst photos as one photo file. And the Snapdragon 855 captures HEIF photos at 30% lower power than previous generations.

Movie Playback, Gaming, and Virtual Reality

The new Snapdragon 855 mobile platform will offer Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Elite Gaming experience. This experience includes cinematic color grading in true HDR (>1 billion colors), filmic tone-mapping, demanding physically based rendering (PBR), and support
for the Vulkan 1.1 graphics library. In other words, even the most demanding games will run smoother and look better. Custom algorithms have been designed to reduce dropped frames by >90%; gamers will enjoy reduced latencies during multiplayer gaming. An added bonus is the upgraded Qualcomm aptX Adaptive audio codec with support for Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus. “aptX adaptive is designed to provide the ultimate wireless listening experience by combining robust premium audio quality with significantly lower latency for gaming and multimedia applications.”

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform Unleashed; Here Are the Details

When watching movies, users will enjoy an enhanced cinema experience with enabled HDR10+ playback –a commercial first on mobile. You’ll be able to watch more movies on a single charge because newly introduced hardware will offer much higher energy efficiency.

If Virtual Reality is your thing, you’ll appreciate that Snapdragon 855 also enables volumetric virtual reality (VR) immersive video experience at 8K resolutions at 120fps. This will give users the freedom to “watch, learn, play and share dynamic experiences in real-time, even further blurring the visual lines between physical and virtual worlds.”

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform Unleashed; Here Are the Details

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform Features Include:

Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine
• Qualcomm® Hexagon™ 690Processor
• Qualcomm® Adreno™ 640 GPU
• Qualcomm® Kryo™ 485 CPU

• Snapdragon X24 LTE modem LTE Category 20
• Snapdragon X50 5G modem (for 5G devices)
• Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6-ready mobile platform: 802.11ax-ready, 802.11ac Wave 2,802.11a/b/g/n.
• Qualcomm 60 GHz Wi-Fi mobile platform: 802.11ay, 802.11ad
• Bluetooth Version: 5.0
• Bluetooth Speed: 2 Mbps
• High accuracy location with dual-frequency GNSS

Qualcomm Spectra 380 Image Signal Processor
• Dual 14-bit CV-ISPs;22MP @30 fps concurrent dual cameras; 48MP @ 30 fps single camera
• Hardware CV functions including object detection & tracking (Histogram of Oriented Gradients, Harris Corner Detection, Normalized Cross Correlation, Linear classification, and optical flow) and stereo depth processing
• Advanced HDR solution including improved HDR and 3-exposure Quad Color Filter Array (QCFA) HDR
• 4K60 HDR video capture (HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG) with Portrait Mode (bokeh), 10-bit color depth and Rec. 2020 color gamut
• Hardware-based Multi-Frame Noise Reduction (MFNR) for snapshot and Motion Compensated Temporal noise Filtering (MCTF) for video
• Hardware-based Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) solution within the camera subsystem
• A new modular ISP design with more flexibility to tap in and out of the imaging pipeline both in the RAW and YUV pixel domains
• High frame rate capture for slow-motion video (720p @ 480fps)
• HEIF photo capture, HEVC (H.265) video capture

• Qualcomm Aqstic™ audio technology
• Qualcomm aptX™ support, including classic aptX, aptX HD and aptX adaptive
• Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus

Qualcomm Adreno Visual Subsystem
• Adreno 640 GPU
• Vulkan 1.1 API support
• HDR gaming (10-bit color depth, rec 2020 color gamut)
• Physically Based Rendering
• API Support: OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0 FP, Vulkan 1.1
• Maximum On-Device Display Support: Up to 4K HDR
• Maximum External Display Support: Up to two 4K HDR displays
• Hardware-accelerated H.265 and VP9 decoder
• HDR Playback Codec support for HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision
• Volumetric VR video playback
• 8K 360 VR video playback

Qualcomm Kryo 485 CPU
• One prime core clock speed: Up to 2.84GHz
• Three performance cores clock speed: Up to 2.42GHz
• Four efficiency cores clock speed: Up to 1.80GHz
• Architecture: 64-bit

• 7nm Process Technology Qualcomm Hexagon 690 Processor
• Secure Processing capability
• Quad threaded Scalar Core
• Four Qualcomm Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX)
• Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor Accelerator
• Qualcomm Hexagon Voice Assistant
• Qualcomm All-Ways Aware technology

•Qualcomm Biometric Authentication
Suite: Fingerprint, Qualcomm Iris Authentication, Voice, Face, Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit enabling mobile payments
• Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor

Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ Technology

• Memory Speed: 2133MHz
• Memory Type: 4x16bit, LPDDR4x

You can watch the Day Two keynote from the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit Here:

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct smaller.com; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.