Samsung unveils the AI-ready chip powering its 2018 flagship phones
We've already seen next-generation mobile chips from Qualcomm and Huawei in recent months, and now Samsung has joined the party by unveiling the Exynos 9 Series 9810. The chip features an upgraded processor, support for faster cellular speeds, and neural network capacity for AI-powered apps.
If Samsung follows the same strategy it did with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, then this is the chip that's going to feature in the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus outside of North America and China (those regions will most likely get the Snapdragon 845 inside their handsets instead).
Featuring the third-generation of Samsung's custom CPU design, the Exynos 9810 features eight processing cores for a maximum clock speed of 2.9 GHz, with multi-core performance up to 40 percent better than last year's chip. You might not notice the difference in WhatsApp, but intensive tasks should be handled more efficiently and faster than ever before.
Part of the chip's improvements are focused on AI, like the offerings from Huawei and Qualcomm that we've already mentioned. Essentially this means that deep learning tasks – such as recognizing objects and people in photos – can be at least partly handled on the device itself rather than offloaded to the cloud.
The AI neural network features should also open the door for a more advanced and more accurate facial recognition system. Sensitive biometric information such as faces, irises, and fingerprints are kept on a secure unit inside the Exynos 9810.
An improved LTE modem means up to six carrier signals can be combined for a maximum download speed of 1.2 Gbps over a cellular network, while improved image processing codecs up the potential 4K video recording rate to 120 frames-per-second.
Low-light camera performance and video stabilization should also be improved thanks to the extra multimedia handling capabilities of the chip, Samsung says. From making video calls to making movies, the Exynos 9810 promises to enable another step forward in mobile performance.
With four of the eight cores ready to run in a low-power mode when necessary, the chip should clear the way for improvements in battery life as well, though what usually happens year-on-year is that these energy savings are balanced out by extra demands elsewhere, leaving battery life largely unchanged.
While the Exynos 9810 doesn't bring anything radically new to the table, it confirms the importance of AI processing for phones in 2018, and gives us a few hints about what to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus – advanced facial recognition and improved photo and video performance are likely to be highlighted when the phones launch in the next month or two.