Qualcomm on Tuesday announced the Snapdragon 845, its latest and greatest mobile system-on-chip and a direct successor to the premium Snapdragon 835. With Qualcomm being the dominant force in the mobile chip industry, the announcement of its new high-end offering is also a glimpse at what consumers can expect from Android flagships set to be released in 2018, with the silicon itself debuting at the latest iteration of the company's Snapdragon Technology Summit that started Friday morning PST in Hawaii, just over a decade after the first Snapdragon chip was commercialized and three years after the development of the Snapdragon 845 started.
As expected, the Snapdragon 845 was designed and manufactured in collaboration with Samsung and isn't an architectural leap over its direct predecessor but still debuts some impressive improvements across the board, with the tech giant primarily focusing on several key areas of improvement with its latest chip - camera, AI, VR, security, fast cellular connectivity, and long battery life. As far as basic specs are concerned, there still aren't many because the chip is yet to be detailed tomorrow, though Qualcomm SVP Alex Katouzian said consumers can expect a "Hollywood-quality" video capturing experience. Likewise, "vault-like" security will also be part of the package, as will a comprehensive platform allowing for highly immersive VR experiences which last much longer than what current solutions allow.
The Snapdragon 845 is expected to become available to OEMs starting early 2018. According to recent reports, Samsung already reserved initial batches of the SoC for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus so while these two flagships may not be the first Snapdragon 845-equipped phones that will be announced in 2018, they'll almost certainly be the first such offerings that you'll actually be able to purchase, so long as you're located in the United States or China, whereas the international models should still be powered by Samsung's own Exynos 9810. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun also confirmed that the company's next flagship — most likely the Mi 7 — will be powered by Qualcomm's newly announced chip.
Ultimately, as Mr. Katouzian said, the Snapdragon 845 is seeking to power top mobile consumer electronics that "people want to use every day" and with what the company is expected to detail tomorrow, there's a solid chance the silicon will be able to do precisely that. Besides smartphones, expect the Snapdragon 845 to make its way to laptops as part of Qualcomm's collaboration with Microsoft seeking to bring ARM-based Windows 10 experiences to consumers in the form of portable PCs that last up to a week on a single charge and will be hitting the market in the coming months.