American chipmaker Qualcomm’s current flagship processor – Snapdragon 855 – has today received a Common Criteria EAL-4+ certification, and this makes it the first ever SoC (system on chip) to be recognised to offer a smart card level security. With this certification, manufacturers can now use Qualcomm‘s Snapdragon 855 process as the only secure storage area for applications like payment IDs, encryption keys and eSIM management. This, in a way, completely removes the need for a separate security chip.
We should mention that prior to the certification, smartphone makers had to include a separate security chip in the device so that it acted in a trusted manner. There was also a need for adding a secure area for holding sensitive data such as payment IDs and encryption keys. The companies also had to make sure that they complied with Google’s most stringent security requirements in Gatekeeper and StrongBox.
It is also worth adding that the possibilities go beyond current use cases as well. According to the company, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor can now be used as a secure storage container for applications like transit passes, Trusted Platform Modules, and crypto wallets.
However, with the certification, Qualcomm says that the companies can just use the Snapdragon 855 SoC and they don’t have to include any separate chip for security reasons. This is expected to save companies money on the overall build of materials and at the same time, it will free up some space in the device. In most cases, any amount of complexity that can be removed from the internal design of a smartphone is considered a win. It should be pointed out that this is not anything major for mobile phones that have been shipped with Snapdragon 855 and a security chip. However, we should mention that the certification does not apply retroactively.
But then, this is a very big deal for the new smartphones that will house the Snapdragon 855 SoC and even the future handsets that will run the next generation Snapdragon 800-series processor that is expected to go through the same certification.
A number of flagship devices this year house the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor. These include Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 Plus, OnePlus 7, OnePlus 7 Pro and Asus 6Z. Even the upcoming flagship smartphones from Google are expected to be powered by the American chipmaker’s flagship SoC. Most of these devices are known for the powerful performance that they can offer, apart from other high-end features.
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