During the first keynote of the Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm has confirmed the Snapdragon 855 brand name for its new high-end smartphone processor platform. In today’s keynote, the AI performance was the main topic.

According to Qualcomm, Snapdragon 855 will bring an overall 3X AI performance improvements for Artificial Intelligence (AI) workloads, thanks to the combined work of the updated Adreno GPU, Kryo CPU cluster and Hexagon DSP (Digital Signal Processor).

At the moment, Qualcomm didn’t reveal the exact nature of the hardware improvements, but the company claims a 2X improvements over the closest competitors. 2X is quite a number because that other competitor is doing quite well in AI benchmarks.

Furthermore, Qualcomm positions its new Spectra ISP (Image Signal Processing) capabilities as being the first “Computer Vision” ISP. This means that it is fast enough to take on advanced vision-related AI tasks such as object recognition.

To be fair, some of these features have appeared well before Snapdragon 855, BUT it’s also fair to point out that “how well” they have been implemented isn’t well understood for two reasons:

1/ AI on smartphone cameras is currently promising but not yet to the point of being sought-after by the public, let alone be indispensable.

2/ There are no benchmarks to measure the outcome (“success”) of using A.I camera processing on smartphones, even if AI that tests the raw AI computing performance are starting to appear.

We agree that AI holds great potential and that the Camera is probably “The” place where AI does need a LOT of hardware resources. In-camera Computer Vision (CV) has steadily progressed over the past few years and should bear more meaningful fruits (hopefully) soon.

Snapdragon 855 will be fully unveiled tomorrow at 9 am (Hawaii time), and you can follow the live announcement here, before reading our full Snapdragon 855 reference article.

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