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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset will power your next flagship phone

Really, who didn't see that one coming?
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Next year's high-end Android smartphones will use (you guessed it) Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 855 chipset. Qualcomm SVP Alex Katouzian didn't dwell on the chipset for very long after announcing it at the company's Tech Summit in Hawaii — the big details will apparently drop tomorrow — but we now have a better sense of what the company wanted to focus on as we barrel into 2019.

It's been clear for a while now that 2019 will be the year of 5G, and it's little surprise at this point that the Snapdragon 855 will support "multi-gigabit" data speeds on 5G networks as they light up around the country. The rapid development and rigorous work that went into next year's round of 5G network deployments were a big theme here at Tech Summit day 1, and it's not hard to see how insanely fast data speeds stand to change what we expect from our smartphones.

Beyond that, Katouzian also pointed out that the 855 was designed to trounce last-generation chipsets when it comes to AI performance — we can expect up to 3x performance gains when it comes to these complex computations. It's still relatively early days for software and services fueled by machine learning, but the shift in the industry seems almost palpable at this point. With these AI-focused updates, Qualcomm is clearly gearing up to compete with rivals like Apple as the fundamental nature of our software continues to change.

And honestly, those AI-fueled charges are probably more integral to your life than you might know. Consider your phone's camera, for instance: advances in computational photography mean your photos just look better without any extra work on your end. It's little surprise, then, that Qualcomm embedded a new computer vision ISP into the 855, so phones of the future will be better able to "recognize who and what you're capturing."

Chris is Engadget's senior mobile editor and moonlights as a professional moment ruiner. His early years were spent taking apart Sega consoles and writing awful fan fiction. That passion for electronics and words would eventually lead him to covering startups of all stripes at TechCrunch. The first phone he ever swooned over was the Nokia 7610, because man, those curves.

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