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Qualcomm's Alex Katouzian unveils the Snapdragon 845

Qualcomm offered up details on its next high-end smartphone chip Wednesday, promising the Snapdragon 845 will provide higher quality video and photo capture and better battery life, among other features. It's set to start showing up in phones early next year.

Why it matters: Because it powers the vast majority of the world's high-end smartphones, whatever features Qualcomm puts into its Snapdragon chips foretell what the next crop of flagship devices will provide.

Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 845 on Tuesday, but provided few details other than that it would be manufactured in Samsung's factories and that China's Xiaomi would be among the early customers.

On Wednesday it went into more detail on the chip's new features.

  • New camera features include better support for portrait-type photos, improved video and images that merge photos and video in new ways.
  • A secure vault is designed to better protect biometric data, passwords and other sensitive data
  • On the AI front, Qualcomm says it is boosting the types of inference that can be done on the device.
  • As for battery, the Snapdragon 845 is designed to improve life when doing demanding tasks like VR and video playback.

Under pressure: Although Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips power most of the world's high-end phones, Apple uses its own processors and Samsung typically uses its own Exynos processors for at least some of its high-end phones. Several of the features are designed to let Android phones better compete with the iPhone, including support for face-unlocking as well as taking portrait photos with a blurred background using a single camera (a la the Google Pixel 2).

Go deeper

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.