Snapdragon Tech Summit Day One: Introducing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform

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At the yearly Snapdragon Summit, we’ve come to expect news regarding Qualcomm’s upcoming mobile platforms that will be powering soon-to-be-released flagship mobile devices, and this year was no exception; we now have the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform to anticipate. Building on the success of the Snapdragon 888+ 5G system on chip, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is touted as able to deliver even faster 5G speeds, create more impressive photographs and video, take AI experiences to new levels, and yes, it will also provide more visually stimulating and immersive gaming experiences.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform

Today’s top-end mobile devices are more powerful and even more technologically impressive than any of us could have ever imagined, but is it ever going to be enough? Probably not because the smartphones that we carry are the computer, camera, gaming, and communication devices we always have with us, and we need them to perform in ever-increasing capacities.

The technology inside our mobile devices must continue to make giant leaps forward with each new generation in its capabilities, features, and performance because what we use our smartphones for — and how we use them — is constantly being redefined.

The demands on our mobile technology are very high, and Qualcomm constantly strives to improve its chips to deliver higher speeds, faster connectivity, cutting-edge performance, and fully immersive experiences.

According to Christiano Amon, the president and CEO of Qualcomm, their goal is to continue “exceeding user’s expectations every time with smarter, more powerful, and more connected devices that deliver the premium experiences we deserve.”

Let’s acknowledge Qualcomm’s new naming scheme before I tell you about their latest Snapdragon mobile platform. Rather than staying with the three-digit names that we’ve grown used to (e.g., Snapdragon 765, 888, etc.), with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform, the company is moving to a single-digit name followed by a generational number instead, which is how we get 8 Gen 1.

Qualcomm aims to redefine our next-generation mobile experiences regarding connectivity, artificial intelligence, photography, and gaming; here’s how they propose to make that happen with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform.

Connectivity

Because Qualcomm’s 4th gen Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System is integrated within the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 system on chip (SoC), Qualcomm is saying that this particular mobile platform is the world’s first to offer 10-Gigabit download speeds over a smartphone’s 5G modem along with the fastest Wi-Fi speeds available now — up to 3.6 Gbps over Wi-Fi 6 and 6E.

Think of it like this: even if your network provides the absolute fastest 5G speeds, or you’re paying for the absolute fastest available broadband service for your home coupled with a state-of-the-art router, your mobile device won’t be able to take advantage of any of those speeds — whether it’s for voice and video calls, streaming movies, playing online games, or listening to lossless wireless audio — if the mobile device’s processor and modem don’t have the capability.

AI

Artificial Intelligence on your mobile device is much more than having a virtual assistant that replies to you when you ask a question, or knowing that when you point your camera at a scene in front of you, the camera will be contextually aware enough to will recognize whether you are trying to take a photo of a person, a pet, greenery or food.

The 7th Gen Qualcomm AI Engine uses an efficient and powerful Qualcomm Hexagon processor, which features a 2x faster tensor accelerator and a 2x larger shared memory than the version before.

AI is already driving many of the experiences we take advantage of on our mobile devices without even giving them a second thought. Still, cutting-edge use cases are constantly being introduced.

Some examples of how this improved AI can be used with the 8 Gen 1 SoC were mentioned, including AI-based natural language processing from Hugging Face, which can intelligently serve as your personal assistant by prioritizing and analyzing your notifications.

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Qualcomm is working with Sonde Health to use on-device AI to accelerate their models that can actually analyze a user’s vocal patterns to determine if they are at risk for health conditions such as asthma, depression, and COVID-19.

Pretty soon, our smartphones will be able to do things we haven’t even yet imagined!

Photography

Snapdragon Sight Technology is built into the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform. Qualcomm says that Snapdragon Sight is the first 18-bit image signal processor (ISP) ever created for mobile, and it can capture over 4000x more camera data than its predecessor.

They’ve made it so that just about anyone with an arty eye can film and photograph like a professional with extreme dynamic range, color, and sharpness at speeds up to 3.2 gigapixels per second.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile platform includes 8K HDR video capture; you’ll be able to capture incredible details with insane detail. There’s also a mega night mode that captures 30 images, merging the best parts of each to create one fantastic photograph. You’ll get brighter photos in darker conditions, as well as the ability to focus and zoom in on tiny details without any blurring.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 also includes a fourth, separate ISP — a new Always-On ISP — that will allow this particular camera to run while consuming very little power, so you’ll be able to enjoy always-on face unlocking — and locking when your face isn’t present for better privacy.

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If someone looks over your shoulder, this Always-On ISP can blur your screen or even lock it. If you happen to want to share info on your display with someone else, but you don’t necessarily want them to see your notifications, the Always-On ISP can keep them from showing when it’s not just you looking at the display.

Gaming

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform

Imagine being able to get an authentic desktop-level gaming experience on your mobile device; it’s within reach! The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform is loaded with all of the latest Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, including ultra-smooth responsiveness and color-rich HDR scenes. Playing games on your phone will be an even more immersive experience when the details are this good.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform has a re-architected Qualcomm Adreno GPU that offers 30% more power and 25% more efficiency that its predecessor. Expect the most advanced lighting and shadow effects and unbelievable realism made possible through volumetric rendering and the frame motion engine. You’ll also get Audiokinetic technology and Snapdragon Sound Technology for the richest, most immersive sound with ultra-clear audio.

In the coming months, you’ll start hearing about premium mobile devices that will feature the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform from brands including Black Shark, Honor, iQOO, Motorola, Nubia, OnePlus, OPPO, Realme, Redmi, SHARP, Sony, vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE, and more.

You can learn more here.

 

Disclosure: I am at the Snapdragon Tech Summit as Qualcomm’s guest; they paid for my travel, room, and meals, but there were no conditions or expectations made regarding what I chose to write about regarding my experience.

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Editor in Chief of Gear Diary, Secular Humanist, techie, foodie, hoarder of Kindle eBooks, lover of live music, and collector of passport stamps.