Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)

As artificial intelligence and machine learning take center stage in the smartphone arena, companies are scrambling to make them a critical part of their overarching strategy. Towards the same, Samsung has been working on a dedicated NPU, that will power the artificial intelligence abroad its upcoming flagship smartphones.

As per our sources, Samsung has committed to using dedicated on-device hardware to power AI on its future flagship devices. Towards the same, the Exynos 9 Series 9820, which is expected to power the international versions of the Galaxy S10 flagship smartphone, will pack a dedicated Neural Processing Engine on-board.

Samsung can perform this level of customization because Exynos is a home-grown brand, and Samsung manufactures it in-house. Speaking of performance, it is expected that having an on-board unit will allow the Exynos 9 Series 9820 to outperform its predecessor, the 9810, by up to 7 times — at least where AI is concerned. This boost in performance will reflect in places like image processing, and AR.

Samsung is not the only company to include a dedicated unit for AI on its chips, and nor is it the first. Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei was the first to include a dedicated AI unit, when it launched its Kirin 970 last year. Apple was close on its heels, with the A11 Bionic chip, which also includes a separate AI processor on-board.

Interestingly, Qualcomm, whose Snapdragon chips power the majority of the world’s flagship smartphones, has not joined the race as of yet. From what we heard last, the company believes that the combination of DSP, CPU, and GPU on its Snapdragon 845 SoC (which might power the US version of the S10) provides enough processing juice for enhanced AI performance.



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