As part of its annual event in Maui, Hawaii, Qualcomm has just unveiled its latest and greatest chipset – the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The new chipset features some significant all-round improvements. We can’t wait to see how the phonemakers utilise the potential of the flagship SoC to power next-gen premium smartphones. Wondering why we are so excited about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the devices that will be equipped with it? We give you not one, not two, but eight reasons…
1) Powerful architecture
The new Kryo architecture on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 features a tri-cluster architecture. The high-end Prime Core features the new Cortex-X3 and is clocked at 3.2GHz. But what’s interesting is the configuration for the other two clusters as they run at higher clock speeds, while ensuring that the battery life isn’t sacrificed. With 4 x 2.8GHz Performance Cores and 3 x 2.0GHz Efficiency Cores, the performance is 35 percent faster than its predecessor. Power efficiency on the other hand, can witness up to 40 percent improvement.
2) Snapdragon Elite Gaming
Mobile gaming has quickly overtaken PC or console gaming. Not to mention the freedom of playing anytime, everywhere makes it even more appealing. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 comes with a new Adreno GPU, which is said to be 25 percent faster while being 45 percent battery efficient. The graphics processor also features Vulkan 1.3 which promises up to a 30 percent performance boost and the Unreal Engine 5 MetaHumans framework that will offer photorealistic human characters in games. But it isn’t just about hardware, as the Snapdragon Elite Gaming comes with a bunch of features that make gaming a delightful experience. Chief among them is the support for real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing. This tech enables soft shadows, accurate glass reflections, and ambient occlusion to give you a realistic experience while playing your favourite titles.
3) Snapdragon Smart
With artificial intelligence features across the board, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is “purpose-built for AI“. The Qualcomm AI Engine activates Kryo CPU, and Adreno GPU as well as a new-and-powerful Hexagon Processor along with an all-new Sensing Hub, which we’ll be talking about in the next section. The Hexagon processor comes with a new architecture that features micro tile inferencing and a bigger Tensor accelerator, promising up to 4.35X performance uplift. It’s the world’s first processor to offer INT4 Support on mobile that boasts 60 percent performance / watt improvement for sustained AI inferencing and has a dedicated power delivery system. Then there’s Hexagon Direct Link which connects the ISP, Adreno GPU, AI processor, and memory.
4) Qualcomm Sensing Hub
Remember the ability to wake up your phone with your voice commands? It seemed like magic when it first made its way to smartphones. Qualcomm is taking that to the next level with Sensing Hub which has dual AI processors. It comprises sensors, voice / audio support, various connectivity standards, authentication mechanisms, and an always-sensing camera among others. There’s also support for custom wake words as well as developers can unlock more capabilities with Qualcomm AI Stack.
5) Snapdragon Sight
Thanks to AI features, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 offers the world’s first Cognitive ISP. With that, smartphones will be able to offer real-time segmentation filter, ensuring that the image or video being captured is realistic by applying custom treatment to each layer. In other words, instead of applying the same treatment to the entire image / video, the ISP will use AI neural network to differentiate various elements like face, hair, clothes, skies, objects, etc. in the frame and optimise them accordingly.
In terms of hardware support, the chipset will support a newer generation of image sensors. For example, Sony and Samsung have developed new sensors that offer quad digital overlap HDR technology and 200MP sensor (dubbed Samsung ISOCELL HP3), respectively. It’s also the first Snapdragon processor that comes with an AV1 codec that supports video playback of up to 8K HDR at 60fps.
6) Snapdragon Connect
The AI capabilities make their way to the connectivity features as well. This enables faster upload and download speeds with low latency and superb battery efficiency. The Snapdragon X70 5G Modem also supports 4CC and 5G dual SIM, dual activity. Then there’s FastConnect 7800 which offers next-gen Wi-Fi 7 with HBS (High Band Simultaneous) multi-link providing download speeds of up to 5.8Gbps. At <2ms, it also has the world’s lowest latency Wi-Fi. There’s support for Dual Bluetooth too.
7) Snapdragon Sound
Qualcomm has also paid a lot of attention to the audio department. Thanks to Snapdragon Sound, the chipset will offer support for 48khz lossless music streaming and dynamic spatial audio. Upon playing the supported games or multimedia content, this technology will be able to collect head movements and adjust the sound to deliver a life-life experience. The lowest-ever latency of 48ms will make sure that gamers can stay focused, and they can also communicate with other players with built-in voice backchannel.
8) Snapdragon Secure
With data privacy becoming an important aspect of the modern era, Qualcomm has kept that at the front and centre of its flagship SoC. With Snapdragon Secure, the Snapdragon 8 Gen platform offers the latest technologies in terms of cryptography, key management, attestation, and more. This will make sure that your data remains safe and secure.
9) Bonus: Partnership with leading smartphone OEMs
There’s little doubt that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a powerhouse. But all that won’t matter if there aren’t devices that will be powered by it. The chipmaker has taken care of that already as it has announced partnerships with leading OEMs. Right from popular brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, OPPO, and Vivo to gaming-focused offerings from the likes of ASUS ROG, iQOO, REDMAGIC, and many more, we’ll be seeing a deluge of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-based smartphones.
And you won’t have to wait long either. Some of these phones are expected to be released commercially by the end of 2022, with a larger number of the next wave of flagships next year to be equipped with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest.
Disclosure: this writer is attending Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui, Hawaii on Qualcomm India’s invitation