Qualcomm has announced its new flagship mobile chipset that we should expect to see in most 2019 high-end Android smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S10.

From an imaging point of view the most interesting news is an upgraded Spectra image signal processor (ISP) that is taking over some tasks that previously have been performed by CPU, GPU and DSP in conjunction. For example, the ISP can process depth mapping at a frequency of 60 frames per second. This should be useful for real-time object attenuation applications but could also help improve simulated bokeh effects in video footage.

In addition the new ISP enables 4K HDR video capture at 60 fps and Qualcomm also claims the processor generally needs only about 25 percent of the power for the same task than previous variants.

For general computing the new chipset's 7nm process is expected to deliver improved performance while yielding noticeably better battery life then the current Snapdragon 845. The Snapdragon 855 should also bring performance improvements to AI-applications. Qualcomm says the new chipset delivers “up to three times the AI performance compared to the previous generation mobile platform”.

In terms of connectivity the 855 won't come with 5G but instead use Qualcomm’s new X24 LTE modem which is capable of theoretical download speeds up of to 2Gbps. However, device manufacturers will have the option to add an X50 5G modem to their packages if they they want to include 5G connectivity in their Snapdragon 855-powered products.