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Qualcomm launches 2022 flagship processor for Android phones - Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

By Liu Hongzuo - on 5 Dec 2021, 11:35am

Qualcomm launches 2022 flagship processor for Android phones - Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

Note: This article was first published on 1 December 2021.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

As Qualcomm ushers the Snapdragon product range into a new era, the company is rebranding Snapdragon with new names for its mobile processors - forgoing its old three-digit naming system for a simplified, single-digit format. 

With that, the company welcomes Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Built on a 4nm manufacturing process and designed for flagship Android smartphones launching in 2022 and beyond, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 packs next-generation processing power, AI features, imaging prowess, and 5G connectivity into one, succeeding 2021’s Snapdragon 888 mobile chipset.

Click to view a larger image.

According to Qualcomm, the built-in Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System is the backbone to its peak 10Gbps 5G download speeds. In addition, supporting Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E up to 3.6Gbps is the integrated Qualcomm FastConnect 6900. Of course, all these download speeds are subjected to your Wi-Fi or telco’s connection, but Qualcomm certainly cut no corners here.

While its triple ISP (image signalling processor) configuration stays, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s ISPs are now 18-bit (SD888 was 14-bit), which makes your phone capture 4,000 times more camera data by default. The upgraded imaging components also enables 8K HDR video capture (HDR10+ format).

Also, there’s now a fourth “mini” ISP called Always-On ISP. This processor dedicates itself to phones with always-on face recognition, consuming low amounts of power.

Then there’s the 7th-generation Qualcomm AI Engine, which has 2x faster tensor accelerator and 2x larger shared memory than its predecessor (which sat on SD888). AI-enhanced features include:

  • Leica Leitz Look filters that use AI to recreate bokeh effects found on Leica lenses
  • Hugging Face’s machine learning library for natural language processing
  • Sonde Health’s symptoms detection technology listens to your voice to see if you are at risk for certain conditions (Qualcomm listed depression, asthma, and Covid-19).

For gamers, Snapdragon 8's has 30% better graphics rendering and 25% more power savings than previous generations, thanks to a new Qualcomm Andreno GPU. The company also implanted Variable Rate Shading Pro for finer control over graphical shading, and volumetric rendering for particle effects (like smoke, fog, and others).

Also integrated onto Snapdragon 8 is Bluetooth 5.2, Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless Technology, and a whole suite of Snapdragon Sound features. The chipset is also the first to support LE Audio, a high-quality, low-energy Bluetooth audio codec. 

Connected car owners would be excited to know that the new chipset also packs Android Ready SE, an Android standard for digital car keys. Other security features include the company’s first-ever Trust Management Engine (for additional Root of Trust in apps and app services). Finally, a Secure Processing Unit component for iSIM (integrated SIM card) allows users to connect to telco networks without a SIM card (if enabled).

According to Qualcomm, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will start appearing in smartphones made by the following brands: Black Shark, Honor, iQOO, Motorola, Nubia, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony Corporation, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE. The earliest handset with Snapdragon 8 will begin appearing from end-2021 onwards and it could be coming from Xiaomi first.

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