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Next-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 will have a dedicated NPU

By Anton D. Nagy August 18, 2018, 6:00 am

Rumor has it that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 that will power next year’s smartphones might be also called the Snapdragon 8150. We know how powerful the current Snapdragon 845 is, so we can expect its successor to impress. Regardless of its name, the next Qualcomm SoC will reportedly feature its own, dedicated, NPU.

The NPU, or Neural Processing Unit, basically handles AI and machine-learning functions. Huawei is already using a dedicate NPU as of 2017’s Kirin 970 chip. It was introduced at last year’s IFA, and the first phone to feature it was the Mate 10 Pro. The Kirin 980 is already confirmed to make an IFA 2018 appearance. We can expect to see it powering the Mate 20 line-up later this year.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 handles all of these functions on the main chip’s low-power cores. The rumor suggests that the upcoming Snapdragon 855 will move those tasks to a dedicated chip. This will free up the CPU and parts of the SoC that will no longer have to handle AI related tasks.

The report also suggests that the Snapdragon 855 will be built using 7nm technology, and special versions of the chip will be used in cars.

The Snapdragon 845 was introduced on December 6, 2017. We expect the Snapdragon 855 to be announced either at the end of the year, or the beginning of 2019.

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