Given its laid-back reputation, Hawaii is an unlikely destination for launching high-performance flagship chips that power top-tier smartphones from Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and the like. However, year after year, this is Qualcomm’s favorite spot for the Snapdragon apex. Here, it launched the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip this week, among other major announcements in computing and expanded reality. And just as 5G has been a hot topic over the past few years, this year attention has shifted to leaps and bounds in using AI to improve practically every function of the new chip — from features like simultaneous multilingual translation, custom wake-up words and other AI-powered camera capabilities. . Here’s what we know so far about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and other versions at the top and what that means for upcoming Android devices.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Smarts: Artificial intelligence was big at this year’s Snapdragon Summit, and for good reason. The AI engine on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is the fastest Qualcomm has made for its chips, with a tensor accelerator twice the size of before and an upgraded Hexagon processor that now supports a new technology called micro-tile inference to speed up neural network processing. According to Qualcomm, these features contribute to a 4.35x jump in AI performance compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and an impressive 60% improvement in performance per watt. The latter is played in large parts by the support of the INT4 AI resolution format. The faster AI engine on the phones packed into the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 should enable a host of new features like real-time multilingual translation or real-time video background blur – just like what Google is trying to achieve with the mid-range for sure but Tensor G2 chipset. Very skilled with artificial intelligence. Qualcomm is also adding a second AI processor to the Sensing Hub, which collects and analyzes data in real time to enable features like custom wake words for a specific app and even enables real-time sensor processing even when the phone is in sleep mode – for example to scan a QR code when it’s retrieved The phone just out of your pocket.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Performance: For Qualcomm’s latest premium chip, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 delivers when it comes to performance. Built on a 4nm process, Qualcomm has shifted from the 1 Prime, 3 Performance, 4 Cores approach of before to one where the 8 Gen 2 has a cutting-edge Cortex X3 ‘Prime’ core running at 3.2GHz assisted by 4 performance cores (2.8GHz) and 3 efficiency cores (2.0 GHz). Qualcomm says that its new CPU should be 35% faster and power consumption should be improved by 40% compared to the first generation. Since we saw improvements in battery life with the 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, the 8 Gen 2 should see even bigger gains.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Gaming: As with the CPU, the Adreno graphics on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also see an uptick, with a 25% graphics gain and a 45% increase in power efficiency over the first-gen Snapdragon 8 processor. Snapdragon Elite Gaming Aiming to deliver console-quality gaming to smartphones, the 8 Gen 2 will be the first Qualcomm chipset to support real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing with just 5W power draw. Ray tracing was the standard for showing realistic light and reflections in graphically demanding games, and if the Oppo demo one saw at the event was any measure, bring it on! There is even support for the Unreal Engine 5 Metahumans framework and support for Vulkan 1.3.
Second-generation Snapdragon 8 camera: Cameras get a big boost with the new Cognitive ISP (Image Signal Processor) that uses an AI neural engine to recognize faces, facial features, clothes, hair, and the sky in a photo via what’s called real-time semantic segmentation and optimizing every aspect within the frame in actual time. The big jump this time around is that it’s only hardware-driven, so each pixel can be treated for lighting, texture, and texture differently based on the real-world entity it represents. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can support up to 200MP image capture and 8K HDR – could we see a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with a 200MP main camera early next year?
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Connectivity, Voice, and Security: The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 features an AI-assisted X70 modem (to improve 5G performance) that was launched earlier this year. However, it now supports dual-SIM active 5G + 5G support and Wi-Fi 7 support. Other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 features include support for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound standard, which now offers spatial audio support with dynamic head tracking as well as music streaming support. 48 kHz lossless. Security comes via Snapdragon Secure, which promises the latest support for isolation, encryption, key management, and authentication among other security features.
Snapdragon AR2 Gen1
Qualcomm has unwrapped the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1, the company’s first AR-designed platform for headgear, with the goal of providing OEMs with the design reference for lighter, sleeker glass designs for AR applications. The new design consists of three different components – an AR processor, an AR coprocessor, and a communication module that connects the AR glasses to a host such as a smartphone. Using this approach allows the glasses to offload computationally intensive tasks on the smartphone, allowing processors on the glass to handle response-time-sensitive operations. This design also enables smaller, more flexible designs that look nothing like the bulky AR headsets that initially hit the market, thanks in part to the 40% smaller space they take up and less than 1 watt of power they consume. There are two reasons for this approach. Using a device like a smartphone allows the silicon on the glasses themselves to offload more complex data processing tasks to a smartphone (presumably one running one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 chips) or a computer. This frees up the processors on the glasses to handle response-time sensitive perception data.
Qualcomm S5 and S3 Gen 2
Besides mobile phones, Qualcomm showed off its latest S5 and S3 Gen 2 platforms for audio devices, all of which promise improvements in spatial audio, lossless music streaming, and Bluetooth ultra-low streaming. Spatial audio is natively supported in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and Qualcomm’s push is to enable wireless earphones to accommodate this feature. Lossless streaming is expected to come with Bluetooth 5.3 and LE Audio specifications, and the chips support the standard. Gaming latency has dropped to under 48ms between the phone and the earphones, which is especially critical for first-person shooters where the sound in your ear has to match what’s happening on the screen. The S5 and S3 platforms also support Qualcomm’s third-generation active noise cancellation features, which can switch between active noise cancellation to allow natural sounds to be filtered out when you need to hear the outside world.
Qualcomm Oryon CPU
A new CPU is in the works to replace the current Kryo processor Qualcomm uses, but details are scarce about the new Oryon CPU that’s set to bring to Windows PCs next year. – And like everything Snapdragon in the event – It will be all about 5G and AI. Over time, Qualcomm expects to filter the Oryon CPU into various Snapdragon products, including mobile devices, cars, and so on.
Disclosure: This columnist traveled to Hawaii at the invitation of Qualcomm to attend Snapdragon Summit 2022.