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    Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: Flagship SoC for 2022 Devices

    Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Chips — Front And Back QUALCOMM

    Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile chipset is here and ready to power the next generation of Android flagships. And it could arrive in phones sooner than you might think.

    Though Qualcomm traditionally reveals its premium system-on-chip around this time every year, the silicon itself doesn't show up in phones until early the next year — usually in Samsung's new Galaxy S flagship.

    But that could be changing with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, as Qualcomm says that devices using the new silicon will begin to appear by the end of 2021. With Samsung's Galaxy S22 not expected to make an appearance until February of 2022, that likely means other phones featuring the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 are going to appear before then.

    The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform is the first mobile SoC in Qualcomm’s line-up to adopt a fresh branding strategy that eschews the triple-digit naming convention of its predecessors, and as expected, it is Qualcomm’s most powerful mobile platform to date. Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 features significant advancements to virtually every part of the platform, from the bleeding-edge process used to build the chips, to its updated CPU, GPU and AI processing engines, its extensive camera and imaging technologies, and its comprehensive array of wireless connectivity options.

    Powerful AI And Processing Engines

    The upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will be manufactured using an advanced 4nm process and features numerous updates and enhancements, which boost platform performance, power efficiency and enable new features and capabilities. Like its immediate predecessor, the Snapdragon 888+ 5G, the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 features a mix of Arm CPU cores – 8 in total. Its updated Kyro CPU complex has a single high-performance Prime Cortex-X2 core (up to 3GHz), three Cortex A71 Performance cores (up to 2.5GHz), and four Cortex A51 Efficiency cores (up to 1.8GHz). The Prime core is used for threads which require the highest priority (and most performance), while the Performance cores handle the rest of the heavy lifting, supplemented by the Efficiency cores for less-demanding background tasks. Overall, Qualcomm is claiming processing performance has been increased by approximately 20%, but at a 30% reduction in power consumption versus its previous-gen Snapdragon 888.

    The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s AI performance also gets a major boost. The 7th Gen Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine on-board is reportedly 4X faster than its predecessor, thanks in part to an updated Qualcomm Hexagon processor with double the shared memory and a tensor accelerator that’s twice as fast as well. A 3rd Gen Qualcomm Sensing Hub is also incorporated into the design, which manages the always-on sensors and operates at lower power than its predecessors too. All told, in addition to its huge AI performance uplift, Qualcomm is claiming a 1.7X improvement in power efficiency.

    Power and performance aren’t the only orders of the day, either. Qualcomm stepped-up security with its new mobile platform as well. In fact, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the world’s first smartphone platform that’s compliant with the Android Ready Secure Element (SE) Alliance. The Android Ready SE Alliance was formed to enable vendors to produce discrete, tamper resistant hardware, while also allowing for remote updates, to securely enable new features as they are introduced into the Android platform.

    Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Block Diagram QUALCOMM
    Unrivaled Camera And Imaging Features

    With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Qualcomm is also announcing Snapdragon Sight Technology, which is an umbrella term used to describe the new suite of cutting-edge premium camera features and technologies incorporated into the platform. For example, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the first SoC in Qualcomm’s history to feature an 18-bit ISP (Image Signal Processor) capable of processing speeds up to 3.2 gigapixels per second. Previous-gen platforms offered up to a 14-bit ISP. While an increase of 4-bits may not sound like much, it actually represents a massive increase that requires the camera ISP to capture over 4,000X more data.

    Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Camera Highlights. QUALCOMM

    Like its recent predecessors, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s Spectra Image Signal Processor features a triple ISP configuration, which essentially means it’s capable of capturing photos and videos from three separate cameras simultaneously. In the case of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, it is capable of capturing up to 200MP from a single sensor, or up to 36MP photos from three sensors at once. It is also capable of capturing an impressive 240 12MP images in one second, which should allow for some high-quality, high-resolution slo-mo video modes as well. (8K HDR video + 64 MP photo capture is a feature, as is 4K 120FPS video).

    With the huge amounts of data at play, in addition to the immense processing resources available with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s 18-bit ISP, Qualcomm is points out that this is the first Snapdragon mobile platform to offer support for 8K HDR video capture with wider effective dynamic range (that can record over a billion shades of color). The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will also offer a significantly enhanced night mode that captures up to 30 images – 5X more than its predecessor – which are then composited for a higher quality final result. The platform offers an array of other improvements too, including a 4-stop increase in dynamic range, AI-based face detection, a dedicated Bokeh engine, and an Ultrawide Engine that will automatically de-warp and minimize chromatic aberration with wide-angle cameras.

    The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will feature an ultra-low-power Always-On camera ISP as well. This will allow mobile devices to leave a select camera enabled, without compromising battery life, to speed-up face detection for face unlock systems, etc.

    Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Reference Device. QUALCOMM

    Major Advancements In Wireless Connectivity

    Qualcomm is already well known for being a leader in 5G, but the radio enhancements in Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 take wireless connectivity even further. Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 leverages Qualcomm’s 4th gen Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System, which features the world’s first 10 Gigabit 5G modem and the first 3GPP Release 16 5G solution. As you would expect, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65 supports a wide range of modes including 5G NR, LTE including CBRS, WCDMA, HSPA, TD-SCDMA, CDMA 1x, EV-DO, and GSM/EDGE.

    Wi-Fi connectivity is getting a significant upgrade as well. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is equipped with the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 Mobile Connectivity System, which supports the fastest Wi-Fi 6 and 6E speeds available, at up to 3.6Gbps. The platform also features Bluetooth 5.2 with support for Snapdragon Sound with Qualcomm aptX Lossless Technology for CD-quality wireless audio. It is the first Snapdragon platform to support LE Audio features like broadcast audio, stereo recording, and voice back-channel for gaming as well.

    Snapdragon Elite Gaming Feature Highlights. QUALCOMM

    More Immersive Gaming, Graphics And Sound

    Qualcomm also enhanced the GPU in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The chip is equipped with a re-architected Qualcomm Adreno GPU that offers up to 30% better performance, with a 25% improvement in power efficiency.

    With its high-performance CPU and GPU, and leading platform and IO technologies, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 also fully supports the 4th Gen Snapdragon Elite Gaming feature set, including Variable Rate Shading and Volumetric Rendering. It is also the first Snapdragon platform with support for Audiokinetic technology. Audiokinetic develops audio authoring tools and a cross-platform sound engine that seamlessly integrates into many of the most popular game engines.

    Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Feature Highlights. QUALCOMM

    The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Is Coming VERY Soon

    As has been the case for all of Qualcomm’s previous-gen flagship mobile platforms, the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will be featured in a wide-array of upcoming, top-of-the-line Android devices. That probably won’t be a particularly shocking revelation to many of you, considering Qualcomm’s consistent pervasiveness in the entire Android ecosystem, but what may be a surprise is that devices powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 are due to arrive almost immediately.

    Qualcomm informs me that Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will be utilized by an array of partners worldwide, including Black Shark, Honor, iQOO, Motorola, Nubia, OnePlus, OPPO, Realme, SHARP, Sony Corporation, vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE, and the first wave of commercial devices featuring the platform are expected to arrive in market by the end of 2021.

    Overall, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 appears to be a major step forward for Qualcomm. The platform’s CPU, graphics and AI processing all get major performance boosts and increased efficiency, its wireless connectivity features are second to none, and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s camera and imaging technologies will be unmatched in the smartphone market at launch. I l look forward to getting my hands on a device for testing soon.

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    Item Reviewed: Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: Flagship SoC for 2022 Devices Rating: 5 Reviewed By: BrandIconImage
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