When Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 845, they also said that the SOC is AI capable as it comes with the Snapdragon NPE (Neural Processing Engine). Now, they have announced their new AI Engine which alongside the Snapdragon 845, also supports the Snapdragon 835, 820 & 660.
The Qualcomm AI Engine consists of,
- Snapdragon NPE
- Android Neural Networks API
- Hexagon Neural Networks
“On-device AI demands multiple hardware architectures, software tools, and frameworks to meet developer demand and performance thresholds for the myriad of AI-powered features and apps arriving on smartphones this year,” said Gary Brotman, director of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “The AI Engine capabilities of select Snapdragon mobile platforms have and will continue to fuel AI innovation among our OEMs and ecosystem partners, and are engineered to accelerate the development and delivery of rich, seamless and compelling features for consumers.”
We think that the working procedure shall be similar to the Snapdragon 845 where it uses the CPU, GPU & DSP together to do AI stuff. That’s why a dedicated NPU like the Kirin 970 was not required for this process.
The AI Engine shall be capable of doing a few advanced Camera oriented pre-trained AI features like SenseTime, Face++ which will help out in terms of capabilities like Single Camera Bokeh, Face Unlock, Scene Detection etc. Also, it can do some other AI oriented features as well.
There is no confirmation about how this new AI Engine will be enabled on old devices having the Snapdragon 835, 820 & 660 SOCs. But, as something gets generally enabled, the AI engine will probably also can be enabled via. a Firmware Update but, that’ll depend if the OEM of those devices will provide that support or not.