Biz / Tech

Latest Snapdragon will bring AI to cheaper smartphones

AI will make your photos and videos better and let you unlock your phone just by looking at it – and it will no longer cost a fortune.
Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

Qualcomm Inc joins the heated battlefield of in-processor artificial intelligence with its new Snapdragon mobile platform, which is expected to be used in most Android flagship smartphones next year.

Revenue for the global AI software, hardware and service market will hit an estimated US$16 billion by 2025, with industry leaders such as Apple — with it's iPhone X — and Huawei offering AI phones.

Qalcomm's Snapdragon is used in about 800 million smartphones and devices sold annually worldwide, industry insiders say. The latest version was released in the US on Wednesday.

The Qualcomm platform transforms a mobile device into a personal assistant, simplifies taking pictures and videos, enhances virtual reality and augmented reality features and makes voice interaction more natural.

AI is moving from “cloud to edge” to offer smartphone users experiences with low latency and better security and reliability.

Between 2017 and 2021, more than 8.6 billion smartphones are expected to be sold globally — making smartphone the most powerful AI platform, with new technologies like 5G and the Internet of Things, Qualcomm said citing figures from research group Gartner.

In China, Qualcomm is working on AI with top firms like Baidu, Alibaba and SenseTime to improve user experiences. Xiaomi plans to release its new flagship Mi 7 smartphone using the new Snapdragon 845, released this week.

Qualcomm’s focus includes "better and easier" photos using the bokeh (blurring) effect and face ID unlocking, once only seen on premium phones such as the iPhone X.

Qualcomm's new Snapdragon will make AI more accessible in 2018 smartphones. And more AI applications will appear in China, said Jia Mo, an analyst at Canalys research.

Other new features in the latest Snapdragon include ultra-high definition video, an independent security chipset and improved power consumption management.

The roll-out of 5G mobile networks in 2019 will bring greater opportunities, including in AI, said Qualcomm executive vice president Cristiano Amon.

Visual processing, AI, security and connectivity represent the future fpr smartphones, Amon said.

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