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Qualcomm reveals new security and battery life features on latest Snapdragon 845 chip

07 December 2017

Qualcomm Inc yesterday revealed new security and battery life features on its latest Snapdragon 845 mobile phone processor. The chip is widely use in  high-end Android-based phones from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and others.

The chips are increasingly important for Qualcomm's financially as its patent licensing business comes under attack from Apple Inc.

The company's latest chip incorporates a number of improvements to help it deal with artificial intelligence tasks like recognising and categorising images, according to Keith Kressin, a senior vice president at the company, who spoke to Reuters.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon chip, for the first time also features a physically separate processor called a ''Secure Processing Unit" for storing information like fingerprints and iris scans, similar to technology found on Apple's iPhone. Qualcomm earlier used a ''trusted zone'' in its chips, that was not physically separate from the rest of the processor.

''With biometric identification on the rise, it was important to take (security) to the next level,'' Kressin said.

Qualcomm tweaked the chip for so-called machine learning applications, which includes things consumers might notice like image recognition. It also includes behind-the-scenes improvements, for instance the chip will help ensure that when user's fingers grip the sides of an edge-to-edge display, they do not register as taps.

The Snapdragon 845 features 8 cores, built using the ARM A75 cores and ARM A55 cores, which have been modified by Qualcomm so the company is calling them semi-custom cores.

Qualcomm said the four high-performance A75 cores will run at a speed of up to 2.8GHz, up from the 2.45Ghz that is the top speed of the Snapdragon 835. The smaller and power-efficient A55 cores run at a speed of up to 1.8Ghz in the Snapdragon 845, which is actually a slight decrease as against the top speed of 1.9GHz from the similar cores in the Snapdragon 835.

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