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Qualcomm Officially Presents Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 To Power Android Flagships Of Future

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

The US chip giant Qualcomm presented its new flagship platform for the top next-generation smartphones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen1 presented yesterday. It should give products like the Samsung Galaxy S22 a full 20 or 30 percent more power.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen1, internally given the model number SM8450 and developed under the code name “Waipio”, is the first new Snapdragon SoC to use Qualcomm’s “simplified” naming scheme. It succeeds the Snapdragon 888 and will be used in the first smartphones with Android from the beginning of 2022.

The chip brings a number of innovations with it, among them in addition to the new, but unfortunately completely opaque naming scheme because of the waiver of model numbers for the internal components, especially for those interested in technology, also some significant technical changes.

This is Qualcomm’s first platform to use the new ARMv9 architecture, which was introduced just a few months ago and which primarily focuses on more security and AI functions. The Californians adapt the base supplied by ARM to their needs and promise 20 percent more CPU and up to 30 percent more GPU performance.

New cores for more performance

This is made possible by the change to a new ARM Cortex-X2 core with a maximum clock rate of 3.0 gigahertz, while three new high-end cores based on the ARM Cortex-A710 are also on board, which are up to 2.5 Reach gigahertz. There are also four power-saving cores that work with a maximum of 1.8 gigahertz and use the ARM Cortex-A510 architecture. Qualcomm itself only speaks of cryo cores and does not name either the CPU or GPU unit in the official marketing material with specific names or model numbers.

Only with his new 5G modem, which bears the name Snapdragon X65, is the tradition stuck to. The new modem is said to support downstream speeds of up to 10 Gbps and supports the 3GPP Release 16 specification. It is compatible with both mmWave and sub-6 GHz networks. There is also support for WiFi 6 and 6E and, for the first time, Bluetooth LE and Snapdragon Sound for AptX Lossless Audio.

Qualcomm diving Deep For camera hardware

Qualcomm is now merging its camera technologies under the “Snapdragon Sight” brand and is now promising, among other things, that the Spectra ISP will be able to process recordings with a color depth of up to 18 bits. The sensor should process up to 240 images per second with 12 megapixels resolution or also simultaneously record 8K videos with HDR and 64 megapixel still images, which is possible due to the enormous bandwidth of 3.2 gigapixels per second. 8K videos with HDR10 + and 18-bit recordings in RAW should also be possible, provided that the actual camera sensors of the respective smartphone provide the corresponding data.

Another innovation of the Snapdragon 8 Gen1 is the integration of a fourth image processing unit, which is not part of the normal image processor but rather the secure enclave of the SoC. It is supposed to offer developers the possibility to keep the camera of a smartphone active at all times, if so requested and with the consent of the user, so that tasks such as controlling the brightness of the display, switching off the screen when the device is put away or even a “snooping” protection are possible in a safe and reliable way.

Always-on function for cameras

Qualcomm claims that the new always-on feature for cameras is more secure because it is anchored in the chip’s hardware and cannot be tapped by third parties. Basically, the manufacturer also insists that the whole thing will not be an automatically active function, but always requires the consent of the user, similar to what many users already know from the always-on microphones for voice assistants.

With the Snapdragon 8 Gen1, Qualcomm also wants to set new standards in the processing of AI data and promises that these can be processed four times faster and almost twice more energy-efficiently. Among other things, one wants to imitate Leica lenses or optimize the antenna performance when the user is holding the smartphone in their hand.

For gaming fans, the more powerful AI engine also ensures that a DLSS-like effect is possible when using games, which should even happen automatically. Qualcomm has also given the new chip additional security functions for use in companies. Production at Samsung takes place in its 4-nanometer process, so it remains to be seen how it will be in terms of yield and availability.

Qualcomm states that the first smartphones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen1 will be presented this year and will be available in stores early in 2022. Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme, and Motorola have already announced the introduction of appropriately equipped devices. In view of the increasing competition from Apple, MediaTek, and now probably also Samsung, it remains to be seen how well the new Snapdragon top chip will prove itself in the market over the long term.