2022 is just days away, and we are already seeing what the year has for the mobile phone world! Qualcomm, the global chip powerhouse, has revealed the processor that will power next year’s flagship smartphones. The unveiling took place at the company’s yearly Snapdragon Tech Summit.
The smartphone processor is named the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is coming as a successor to last year’s flagship Snapdragon 888. One of the first things to notice is the change in the naming scheme, which Qualcomm had already hinted at about a week ago. The company is abandoning the three-digit nomenclature the market is used to.
Next year’s Snapdragon processor comes with improvements in several areas, including performance, camera capabilities, artificial intelligence, security, and 5G tech. It is based on the Armv9 Arm architecture, a first for Qualcomm.
Due to improvement in design, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor will be 20 percent more powerful and 30 percent more efficient than last year’s processor.
The Adreno GPU is also upgraded to render graphics 30 percent faster, with significantly increased power efficiency compared to last year’s flagship. There is also a brand new control panel that will tune how your phone runs your demanding games.
Qualcomm is introducing the Snapdragon X65 modem with next year’s processor. This is the fifth generation of 5G capable modem from Qualcomm, and it adds support for up to 10 Gbps when your network provider offers it, which, to be honest, will most likely never happen. But it is great to case the capacity.
More features of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 include Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth LE Audio support.
Next is the camera capability, which Qualcomm paid attention to in its new processor. It has introduced the Snapdragon Sight brand to showcase the new focus camera strength. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 ups things significantly with the ability to capture 4,096 times more camera data with four more stops of dynamic range in both very dark and very bright conditions.
The new processor also supports capturing 8K videos and 18-bit RAW shooting. Other camera improvements include AI-powered auto-exposure, auto-focus, and auto-face detection. Adding effects such as bokeh and warp correction are present as well.
Qualcomm wants to make your device more secure with an always-on camera, giving more control to developers in what they can do with your phone camera. For example, apps can get the ability to shut down the screen when the camera running in the background detects that somebody is reading the screen over your shoulder.
This feature is sure to raise security concerns as some people will not be comfortable with their camera being always on. However, Qualcomm has clarified that the feature is opt-in, just like you can opt-in for your microphone to listen to voice commands. Apart from the control placed in the user’s hand, all camera data is processed locally on your phone as the new processor enables the tech, not a cloud service.
At any rate, there will be more clarity on the always-on camera feature as phone makers start to use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. They will decide how much of the control app developers can get.
The new processor will get a new hardware-based security layer with what Qualcomm calls the Trust Management Engine on the security front. It also supports the Android Ready SE standard, which allows phone makers to support digital items like car keys, IDs, and money wallets.
AI is vastly improved in this new chip with the latest iteration of Qualcomm’s Hexagon processor powered by its new generation AI engine. Qualcomm claims it is four times faster and 1.7 times more efficient. The new AI engine will enable advanced features like Leica Leitz Look, detecting the way you hold the phone to increase antenna performance, etc.
Qualcomm has to step up its game as it faces intense competition from in-house designed processors like Apple’s popular A-series and Google’s capable Tensor.
The first phones bearing the new Qualcomm processor will be released before the year runs out, and it will give us opportunities to benchmark the performance of the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip.