mobile processor

Snapdragon article for June:

With smartphones getting better every year, what does it take to earn the title of best mobile processor today? Obviously speed is essential to support fast connectivity, but with so many fast processors out there, just being fast isn’t enough anymore. Today’s best mobile processors are increasingly differentiated by other advanced features, particularly artificial intelligence-powered machine learning. AI is in turn empowering processors to deliver other cutting-edge technologies such as augmented and virtual reality to smartphone users. Here’s a closer look at three of the top trends that distinguish today’s leading mobile processors.

5G Readiness

With leading telecommunications providers such as Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint planning to begin rolling out 5G networks as early as late this year, 5G readiness has become a key differentiator for smartphone and mobile processor manufacturers who are positioning themselves to stay competitive in the near future. 5G networks have delivered connection speeds as much as 23 times faster than current 4G LTE technology in early simulation demonstrations.

While 5G smartphones are not yet available per se, components designed to support 5G connectivity while maximizing 4G LTE speeds are already on the market among today’s best mobile processors. For instance, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon mobile processors use a multi-core architecture integrated with an X20 LTE Modem, which supports peak rates of up to 1.2 Gbps.

On-device Artificial Intelligence

Snapdragon processors also feature an on-device artificial intelligence platform that supports machine learning, another key distinguishing feature of today’s leading mobile processors. Traditionally, the amount of computing power needed for AI has required support from significant IT infrastructure, such as remote cloud servers. But transferring large amounts of data to and from the cloud can be a slow process, prohibiting many AI applications for smartphones. On-device artificial intelligence gets around this problem by building AI directly into smartphones, empowering applications that would not otherwise be possible. These include object recognition, enhanced depth sensing, smart image processing, biometric facial recognition and natural language processing.

On-device AI is important for mobile applications beyond smartphones as well. For instance, autonomous vehicles must rely on AI to process an enormous amount of data from internal monitors, other vehicles, navigational landmarks and pedestrians. The amount of data generated will exceed 4,000 GB of data per day from one hour of driving for the average car, compared to the 1.5 GB per day generated by the average mobile user. Processing this amount of data through remote cloud AI systems would be too slow to support real-time driving, but on-device AI will make it possible to handle this data load locally, in conjunction with 5G network speeds.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Another important application of on-device AI machine learning is support for augmented and virtual reality applications. An example of this is AR Emoji, a new feature developed for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. AR Emoji allows users to transform selfies into digital versions of themselves, which can then be turned into animations.

AR Emoji is just one example of the augmented and virtual reality applications that can be supported by the latest mobile processors. Video games are currently the most popular VR application. As 5G speeds become available, streaming VR broadcasts are expected to become popular. AR and VR also have important business and educational applications. For instance, the Mondly app uses VR as a language learning tool by providing an immersive environment that simulates realistic situations for practicing conversations.

Today’s best mobile processors are designed to be ready for 5G speeds so you can enjoy instant connectivity from your smartphone. They feature on-device AI machine learning to support applications such as facial recognition and natural language processing. The AI capability of today’s mobile processors also supports augmented and virtual reality applications such as animated avatars. If you’re looking to invest in a new smartphone or computer, make sure you look for one with a cutting-edge mobile processor in order to take advantage of these trending features.