What flavour are Qualcomm chips?
Qualcomm today revealed its latest flagship mobile chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. This new processor will end up powering a large chunk of next year's high-end Android phones, with manufacturers including Samsung, OPPO, Motorola, and ASUS all relying on Qualcomm's 8-series chips for their flagship devices.
Rather than focusing on pure performance, Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2's biggest improvements come in areas including artificial intelligence, photography, and connectivity.
To start, Qualcomm says the Snapdragon Gen 2 boats up to 4.35 times faster AI performance when compared to the Gen 1 and a 60% improvement in battery efficiency. The biggest impact of this will be found in natural language processing - when talking to Google Assistant or translation apps, for example - and advanced camera features.
One such feature is semantic segmentation, where the camera is contextually aware of individual elements in a photo - faces, facial features, hair, clothes, and skies, for example - and can optimise and tune each individually.
In addition, Samsung's 200MP ISOCELL HP3 image sensor is optimised for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Rumours have suggested phones in the Galaxy S23 family could feature a 200MP shooter, but we've seen conflicting reports about this. Motorola's Edge 30 Ultra already features a 200MP camera, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 suggests more 200MP phones are on the cards.
Phones powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be able to capture and watch 8K HDR video at 60 frames per second. The processor supports all four HDR standards: HDR Vivid, HDR 10, HDR 10+, and Dolby Vision.
On the connectivity front, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is Qualcomm's first chip to enable the use of two 5G SIMs at once. Qualcomm says artificial intelligence is being used to improve 5G performance, as well as battery.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also supports WiFi 7. WiFi 7 speeds can theoretically hit over 40Gbps, and the new standard also offers lower latency. You'll also need a WiFi 7 router to take advantage of this functionality. The first WiFi 7 routers are expected to launch in the first quarter of next year. Similarly, Qualcomm says it has doubled Bluetooth range.
One front where Qualcomm has made more specific performance claims is gaming. The chip manufacturer says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2's GPU is up to 25% faster when compared to the Gen 1, and 45% more power efficient. More broadly, Qualcomm says regular performance is 35% faster performance and 40% more power efficient.
The first phones powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will launch before the year is up, but it's unclear whether we'll see these devices in Australia.
Disclosure: This author attended Snapdragon Summit as a guest of Qualcomm