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What is Qualcomm Photo Expansion?

Qualcomm has announced its latest flagship chip for smartphones: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. 

This new chip offers a welcome performance boost as expected, but there’s also been an enhancement to its AI powers to unlock more features that even the Google Pixel range would envy. 

One of these new AI-powered features includes Qualcomm Photo Expansion, but what exactly does it do and how can it improve your snaps? We’ve created this guide to explain exactly that, so keep reading on for the full breakdown. 

What is Qualcomm Photo Expansion? 

Qualcomm Photo Expansion is a new feature for Snapdragon-powered phones that enables users to expand their photographs, with artificial intelligence creating fake scenery that seamlessly blends in with the original picture. 

The example below shows a woman standing on a rock, with a river, canyon and mountains in the background. The right-hand image shows the end result of Qualcomm Photo Expansion, with AI widening the scope of the background.

Qualcomm Photo Expansion

Artificial intelligence is able to view the original image, and then make assumptions of what the wider scene would look like in order to fill in the blanks. The AI is even able to make deviations to the surface of the rock cliffs and mountains to ensure a natural-looking scene rather than a simple copy-paste job.  

Because the AI is just making guesses, it won’t actually be able to determine what was just out of view of the camera lens. For example, if you were taking a group family photo and narrowly missed out your uncle, the AI would not be capable of re-adding your uncle. 

Qualcomm says you’ll be able to use Photo Expansion with any photo in your gallery, with a demo showing the process to take a matter of seconds.

This feature will seemingly be exclusive to phones powered by the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, although it’s currently unclear whether every single phone with this chip will support the feature. 

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