(Image credit: Qualcomm)


Earlier this month Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 845 premium mobile CPU, which is destined to power future flagship smartphones. The 10nm chip is impressive, to say the least, and features an octo-core Qualcomm Kryo 385 (ARM Cortex tech) processor, Adreno 630 GPU and an Aqstic audio chip with aptX codec technology.


Perhaps the most noticeable upgrade over Qualcomm’s last flagship chip (the 835 mobile platform) is their new Hexagon 685 DSP, which hosts the company’s 3rd generation Neural Processing Engine, an AI platform that focuses on core optimizations. This means that the processor will assign tasks to different cores depending on the app, it also supports a myriad of various AI frameworks, such as ONNX (Open Neural Network Exchange), Facebook’s Caffe 2 and Google’s TensorFlow.


The Hexagon DSP will also bridge the AI processing with the camera, voice, XR and gaming experiences as well as VR applications for increased speed and optimization of workloads. The 845 also sports an improved Wi-Fi modem with Qualcomm’s X20 LTE chip, which just happens to be Category 18 LTE compliant for faster-than-gigabit data speeds- 1.2Gbps downloads and 150Mbps uploads.


While the Snapdragon 845 was designed for smartphones, it’s most likely second customer (Xiaomi has confirmed it for their Mi 7 device) may be Google, as a newly discovered commits indicate they will power the next generation of Chromebooks, according to XDA-Developers. Those new commits include the ‘cheza’ board powered by chipset ‘qc-845’, which either means Qualcomm 845 or perhaps ‘quality control by inspector 845’. My money is on the former, that being said, it will be the first time a Qualcomm SoC will power a Chromebook.


While speculation on what products the 845 will drive is extensive, chances are it won’t be featured in any of Apple’s next-gen mobile devices as Qualcomm launched another lawsuit against Apple Back in November, accusing it of sharing propriety code with Intel, according to a report from Bloomberg. The breach of contract governs the use of software needed that allows SoCs to work with other components as well as to communicate with networks.


This, of course, comes on top of a series of lawsuits Qualcomm has against initiated against Apple, which they claim violates three patents, covering power management and Force Touch touch-screen technology that Apple employs in current iPhones. While Apple claims the suit has no merit, and Qualcomm’s legal will ultimately fail. Considering Apple manufactures their iPhones with hardware from both Qualcomm and Intel, it seems strange that Intel would have access to software owned by Qualcomm when it was contracted with Apply only. Then again, it’s rumored that Apple is dropping the famous SoC manufacturer entirely and relying solely on Intel for their chips. Wonder if it’s because of all those lawsuits?  


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