Qualcomm reveals Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the next chipset for Android flagships
A year after announcing the Snapdragon 888 mobile system-on-a-chip, Qualcomm has pulled back the curtains on its successor. Wearing a new naming convention, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will enable 200-MP photos and 8K HDR video, promises desktop-level mobile gaming, and boasts faster download speeds over 5G.
Of course, this is not the first mobile chipset upgrade since the launch of the 888 in December 2020, Qualcomm announced a Plus variant back in June of this year that we recently saw power Motorola's g200 5G and gets its game on in the ROG Phone 5s/5s Pro from Asus. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 announced at the company's Snapdragon Tech Summit 2021 brings major improvements to mobile connectivity, gaming performance, photo and video chops, onboard AI processing and more.
The new chipset is built around Qualcomm's latest 3-GHz Kryo processor with Arm Cortex-X2 technology. It also comes with Qualcomm's X65 5G modem that enables download speeds of up to 10 Gbps (in theory at least), with Wi-Fi 6 and 6E supported along with Bluetooth 5.2 as well – the latter playing nice with aptX Voice, aptX Lossless (for CD quality streaming), aptX Adaptive and LE audio codecs.
Mobile gamers can not only look forward to smoother, more responsive connected gameplay thanks to the Snapdragon 8 rocking more than 50 Elite Gaming features, but the inclusion of a new Adreno GPU should offer a 30 percent improvement in rendering of graphics, while faster frame rates make for less blur in action scenes, and audiokinetic tech offers "immersive, console-quality sound."
The included AI engine is built around the company's latest Hexagon processor, which is up to four time faster and operates with two times more shared memory than before. Examples of how this can be applied include potentially analyzing a user's voice to look for signs of health problems like asthma or depression, intelligently grouping and prioritizing notifications using natural language processing, and recreating the beautiful bokeh effects of Leica's camera lenses.
Qualcomm has included something called Snapdragon Sight Technology in the Snapdragon 8, which is home to the first commercial 18-bit mobile image signal processor (ISP) – which is reckoned capable of capturing 4,000x more data than its 14-bit predecessor. That should mean processing more dynamic range, color and sharpness at up to 3.2 gigapixels per second for still images at resolutions up to 200 megapixels and 8K HDR/HDR10+ video at 30 frames per second.
And thanks to the inclusion of a separate fourth Always-On ISP, a smartphone's camera can also run continuously on low power to facilitate such things as face unlocking or disabling the screen when someone tries to read over your shoulder.
This is also the first Snapdragon to boast a dedicated Trust Management Engine for extra security, will be the first mobile platform to run Android Ready SE for digital keys and mobile IDs, and comes with the ability to securely connect to cellular networks without the need for a SIM card.
Expect the new chipset to power a bunch of premium Android handsets from next year from brands like Oppo (due in Q1), Sony, Motorola, Xiaomi, OnePlus and Vivo.