With smartphones, image processing is as important—if not more important—than the camera hardware components themselves, which is why the chipset is a crucial element in the imaging pipeline. Most Android smartphones come equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipsets, and the company has just unveiled its latest top-end product, the Snapdragon 845.

We will probably see the Snapdragon 845 in many of 2018's high-end devices, and that's a very good thing for the camera system.

As you'd expect from any new chipset, it's faster than the predecessor Snapdragon 835, comes with more integrated AI processing power and supports higher data speeds. However, the Snapdragon 845 also offers a range of important improvements in the imaging department.

Images can now be captured in 10-bit color with a Rec. 2020 gamut, offering a wider range of tones and hues than the previous 8-bit sRGB JPEGs. While that's impressive, the 845's capability to shoot 60 frames per second at 16MP is even more important when you consider image stacking applications, such as HDR modes or low-light modes that combine several frames to average out noise and improve overall quality.

Another area of improvement is slow-motion video. Next year's Android flagships will be able to record an impressive 480fps slow motion at 720p in HDR—unfortunately, 1080p resolution will still be limited to 120 fps, lagging behind the current iPhones' 240 fps capability. Qualcomm is catching up with Apple in terms of video frame rates, though. Like the iPhones 8, 8Plus and X, Snapdragon 845-equipped phones will be able to record 4K footage at 60 fps.

The Xaomi Mi 7 will be the first 2018 model to come with the new chipset, but it's also expected to be installed on the Samsung Galaxy S9 (which may also come with a variable aperture...). Other brands will likely follow soon after, giving mobile photographers a lot to look forward to in 2018.