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Xiaomi's Mi 7 phone will use Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip

Qualcomm confirmed the name of its next top-of-the-line processor, but offered little additional details beyond saying Samsung will build the chip.

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Shara Tibken/CNET

Qualcomm's next mobile chip isn't available yet, but it already has a big-name customer: Xiaomi.

Lei Jun, CEO of the Chinese phone maker, joined Cristiano Amon, the head of Qualcomm's chip business, at the chip maker's tech summit Tuesday to talk about the importance of their partnership. Jun said the next premium smartphone from Xiaomi, currently in development, will run on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845. He didn't give any details about the device beyond confirming it will be called the Mi 7. 

"Six years ago, we launched the Xiaomi Mi 1 using Qualcomm's processor, which was the best at the time," Jun said. "Over the years, the flagship phones all adopted the top-tier Qualcomm processor."

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Yes, Xiaomi really, really likes Qualcomm. 

Shara Tibken/CNET

While Xiaomi's Mi 7 is the first announced phone to use the Snapdragon 845 chip, it won't be the last. Qualcomm's top-of-the-line processor are used in many flagship phones, including Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, Google's Pixel 2 and the OnePlus 5T. It's a safe bet that the next Snapdragon chip will find itself in many of the same premium phones. 

Qualcomm is hosting a tech summit this week in Hawaii to show off some of the products running on its processors. Tuesday marked the first time the chipmaker has publicly discussed the name of its new processor. The company didn't give many details about the processor but said Samsung's foundry business will be manufacturing the chip. 

Qualcomm, the world's biggest wireless chipmaker, is facing a battle to survive. The company counts Apple Samsung and most of the world's biggest phone makers as its customers, but it's also fighting a fierce legal battle against Apple. Apple, Samsung and others also have been working on their own processors and partnering with Intel to reduce their reliance on Qualcomm's wireless chips. At the same time, rival Broadcom is attempting to buy Qualcomm. 

The Snapdragon 845 will focus on six main areas, said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at Qualcomm. Those include the ability to create and share content, to lose yourself and to feel like you're in another world like through VR, to make your life easier with artificial intelligence, to secure your data, to globalize the wireless user experience and to make more powerful and longer-lasting experiences.  

Earlier Tuesday, the company showed off the first 2-in-1 PCs that run Windows 10 and are powered by its Snapdragon mobile processor. HP, Asus and Lenovo are the first companies to make computers that have smartphone features like alway-on connectivity and more than 20 hours of battery life. 

Update at 4:25 p.m. PT with info about Mi 7.

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