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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will launch the next generation of leading Android devices


Every December for the past few years, Qualcomm holds an annual event in Hawaii to announce its latest flagship mobile chipset. This year was no different as the company took the opportunity to introduce the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Thus, for the second year in a row, Qualcomm is moving away from the sequential numbering scheme that has defined its processors for years. Just as the Snapdragon 865 gave way to 888, the company will now replace 888 with Gen 1.

The on-chip system includes Qualcomm’s own. The company says it is capable of theoretical download speeds of 10Gbps. It’s one of those specs that’s impressive on paper, but won’t mean much in the real world because some of the fastest 5G networks can’t deliver speeds higher than 4Gbps in ideal conditions. If you have access to a router, Gen 1 can withstand a download speed of 3.6 Gbps over WiFi.

As with its past flagship chipsets, Qualcomm has made significant efforts to improve the camera experience. Gene 1 has an 18-bit image signal processor. This is the first time for the company, and something it says allows the component to process 4,000 times more data than the 14-bit Spectra ISP located on the Snapdragon 888. Additionally, phones with the Gen 1 will have the ability to take photos at 3.2 gigapixels per second. In practice, this means that the Gen 1 can simultaneously process data from three 36-megapixel cameras without any shutter lag, according to Qualcomm.

In the second first case for a mobile device, the company says the chipset can record 8K HDR footage at 30 frames per second. Again, this is not the most practical feature for the phone in 2021 as 4K is the best choice for most content. In this regard, Gen 1 supports UHD recording at 120 frames per second and can record slow motion images at 960 frames per second at 720p. Separate from its Spectra ISP, the Gen 1 includes an always-on image signal processor that can power the camera while consuming very little battery power. It is a feature that will allow devices equipped with Gen 1 to offer always-on face detection for biometric authentication.

Gene 1 will not offer significantly improved CPU performance compared to what was already possible with. What it promises is faster performance when it comes to tasks related to artificial intelligence. This is thanks to Qualcomm’s new seventh-generation AI engine, which the company says is up to four times faster than its predecessor thanks to more shared memory and a faster tensor accelerator. Gaming performance is another highlight of Generation 1. According to Qualcomm, its latest Adreno GPU offers 30 percent faster rendering performance while consuming 25 percent less power. As for the audio front, Gen 1 includes support for Qualcomm’s recently announced Bluetooth codec. It can deliver 16-bit 44.1kHz audio streaming up to CD quality over a wireless connection.

Rounding off the list of features Gen 1 is dedicated to the Trust Management Engine. The Gen 1 is the first mobile chipset to support Google’s standard out of the box, meaning it has the ability to store things like digital car keys and IDs.

With its mix of performance improvements and new features, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 offers an intriguing look at the next generation of Android-leading models. Now we have to wait to see what features the manufacturers have decided to enable in their latest devices. The first phones equipped with the Gen 1 will arrive later this year, and more are expected to arrive in the first half of 2022.

Separately, Qualcomm has announced that it will partner with Google to bring the company’s Neural Architecture Search platform into its product portfolio. The technology, which will be the first to be available on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, allows companies to create and optimize AI models automatically instead of manually. According to Google, NAS optimizes AI models in weeks, not months.

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Naveen Kumar

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