Qualcomm's new AI Engine will make your phone faster than ever before

Qualcomm has revealed a new artificial intelligence (AI) engine as part of a wave of MWC 2018 announcements today, and it means big improvements are coming to your phone.

While the engine is more of a background player, you should see upgrades on your mobile device wherever and whenever it's implemented.

The Qualcomm AI Engine, as it's called, isn't made up of brand new parts, said Gary Brotman, Qualcomm's director of product management. Rather, the engine itself is the new arrival. It brings together different hardware and software components to enable faster user experiences through on-device AI processing.  

So, what does that mean for you?

Simply put, the new engine cuts down on the time it takes your phone to perform certain tasks and improves accuracy, such as zeroing in on a subject when taking a photo or slapping a filter on a selfie. 

What's more, battery life doesn't suffer as much in the process, giving you more juice to keep doing what you love on your smartphone.

Make it snappy, make it right

One area where the new engine will have an immediate impact is in voice and natural language processing. 

Conversation with voice assistants is more natural with on-device processing, Brotman said, and gone is the lag that creates the sensation of talking to a robot. 

Brotman put the improvements expected with the AI Engine like this: "Anything to do with the time that it takes perform a specific task and the accuracy of the task are two key areas where the experience will improve for users."

Devices will need to house a Snapdragon 845, 835, 820 or 660 chipset in order to run the AI Engine. No devices with the Snapdragon 845 are official yet, but the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will be some of the first arrivals. 

Qualcomm noted that several of the manufacturers that already support parts of the AI Engine, which include the likes of OnePlus and Motorola, plan to utilize the entire suite on future Snapdragon-powered flagship devices.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.