Last week, Qualcomm revealed its plan to split itself into two individual brands: Qualcomm and Snapdragon. As part of this change, it also announced that Snapdragon will now act as a standalone product brand and will soon be at the heart of more devices than ever before.

snapdragon 8 gen 1 mobile platform
IMAGE: Qualcomm

One week on, and Qualcomm announced its latest flagship processor at the ongoing Snapdragon Tech Summit 2021, marking the beginning of a new era of premium mobile technology.

Called Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the newest mobile platform builds on the Snapdragon 888+ 5G and will power a majority of upcoming Android flagships.

However, what makes it stand out is a series of technological firsts it incorporates, which, according to the company, has the potential to transform flagship devices with breakthrough 5G speeds, professional-quality cameras, elite gaming rigs, and intelligent personal assistants.

Let’s dive in to take a closer look at the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and find out what it has to offer.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Highlights

According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 builds on the power and performance of the Snapdragon 888+ 5G mobile platform. The latest mobile platform promises to deliver a new standard on mobile devices that includes advancements such as a faster AI Engine, a 10 gigabit 5G modem-RF solution, an 18-bit ISP, and immersive sound.

Here’s a look at all such major highlights of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

More AI Experiences

snapdragon 8 gen 1 chip
IMAGE: Qualcomm

Starting with AI, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 intends to democratize AI and make it accessible to a broader range of use cases. It includes a 7th-Gen Qualcomm AI Engine aided by the always-on 3rd-Gen Qualcomm Sensing Hub and the powerful Qualcomm Hexagon processor. The Sensing Hub is said to offer a powerful personal training assistant that can help you unlock your device without you even touching it.

As per the claims, this AI engine enables the platform to be up to 4x faster than before. Not just that, it also features natural language processing from Huggin Face, a robust NLP company known for its open-source software such as Transformers, which analyzes and intelligently groups (and prioritizes) all your device notifications.

Besides, Qualcomm Technologies is collaborating with Google Cloud on a Neural Architecture Search (NAS) to enable companies to create and optimize AI models automatically. It uses Google’s Cloud Vertex AI NAS and Qualcomm’s AI Engine and will be first available on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile platform.

Better Filming and Photography

When it comes to imaging, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 comes with the all-new Snapdragon Sight Technology. It includes an 18-bit ISP that offers a better dynamic range (with vivid color and clarity) and faster processing speeds of up to 3.2 Gigapixels per second to improve filming and photography.

In addition, the platform also carries forward the tradition of triple ISP to enable the device to capture photos and videos simultaneously from three separate cameras. Similarly, it also includes support for 8K HDR video capture, so one can record over a billion shades of color (~64x more shades than non-HDR films) to capture more details in their videos.

As for specifications, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 supports up to a 108MP single camera, 64+36MP dual cameras, and 36MP triple cameras. It can record up to 8K HDR video @30fps, 4K videos @120fps, and slow-mo 720p videos @960fps. Moreover, there’s also the inclusion of 10-bit HEIF and 10-bit color depth photo and video capture, along with support for video formats such as HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision.

Breakthrough Connectivity

Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is one of its most advanced 5G platforms with the first-ever 3GPP Release 16 5G solution. Release 16 brings a plethora of enhancements to the various aspects of the 5G system and promises to improve on different fronts: coverage, capacity, latency, and power.

Similarly, another first for the latest mobile platform is the 10 Gigabit 5G Modem-RF solution. It’s called the Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System, and it facilitates faster content downloading with no-fuss mobile streaming. Of course, there’s support for both mmWave and sub-6 GHz waves over SA, NSA, and FDD and TDD modes on the platform too. And in addition to that, the modem also opens the door to more 5G bands, global multi-SIM support, and better battery life.

Moving to Wi-Fi, the Snapdragon 8 Gen’s inclusion of Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 Mobile Connectivity System brings support for faster Wi-Fi speeds: it’s said to deliver up to 3.6 Gbps speeds over Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. FastConnect 6900 also extends advantages to Bluetooth and promises to reduce latency while bringing all-new LE audio implementations to aid with better audio for broadcasting, recording, and voice back-channel during gaming.

A Step Forward in Mobile Gaming

snapdragon 8 gen 1 mobile gaming
IMAGE: Qualcomm

With mobile gaming on the rise, Qualcomm has been working to improve the experience for users on its mobile platforms. Continuing the trend, it’s arming the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with the suite of Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, such as ultra-smooth responsiveness and color-rich HDR scenes to elevate the visual and performance aspects in gaming.

A substantial chunk of this improvement comes from the re-architected Adreno GPU, which offers up to 30% more power and improves power efficiency by 25% compared to its predecessor. Not to mention the addition of Audiokinetic technology and Snapdragon Sound Technology—among the many firsts—that work in tandem and promise a rich and immersive gaming experience.

Elevating the gaming experience further is volumetric rendering and Unreal Engine 5, both of which add realism to graphics and bring advanced lighting and shadow effects to frames for more realistic graphics.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Specifications

CPUQualcomm Kryo CPU (up to 3.0 GHz with Arm Cortex-X2)
GPUQualcomm Adreno GPU
AIQualcomm Hexagon Processor and Qualcomm Sensing Hub
MemoryLPDDR5 memory up to 3200 MHz
Support for up to 16GB
CameraQualcomm Spectra ISP
Triple 18-bit ISPs
Up to 3.2 Gigapixels per second computation
Up to 108MP single camera, up to 64+36MP dual cameras, and up to 36MP triple cameras
8K HDR video @30fps, 4K @120fps, and slow-mo 720p @960fps
Display4K @60fps
QHD+ @144Hz
Support for HDR10 and HDR10+
AudioQualcomm Aqstic audio codec
Qualcomm Audio and Voice Communication Suite
Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System
Up to 10 Gbps downlink
Support for mmWave and sub-6 GHz with SA, NSA, and FDD and TDD modes

Support for Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), and 802.11a/b/g/n
Up to 3.6 Gbps peak speeds
Supported spectral bands: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz

Bluetooth 5.2
LE Audio and Snapdragon Sound
Support for aptX Lossless and aptX Adaptiv

USB Version 3.1; USB Type-C support
ChargingQualcomm Quick Charge 5

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Availability

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will power a majority of flagship Android smartphones slated to launch next year. However, as of now, Qualcomm hasn’t announced any details as to which devices will be the first to feature their latest mobile platform, so you might want to check back again for updates.

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