At its annual tech summit last year, Qualcomm made multiple announcements: splitting up Qualcomm and Snapdragon into two individual entities, a change in the naming convention for the Snapdragon 8 series chipset, and the all-new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset.

snapdragon 8 gen-2 chipset
IMAGE: Qualcomm

Unfortunately, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 couldn’t live up to some of its promised claims. Qualcomm soon realized this and introduced a significantly improved Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset in the market, which utilized TSMC’s 4nm node instead of Samsung’s 4nm offering to offer better performance and efficiency on high-end smartphones.

A year later, at the Snapdragon Summit 2022 in Hawaii, Qualcomm has now introduced a successor to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1—and the latest mobile platform for premium smartphones—the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. According to the company, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 promises to bring “groundbreaking AI with unparalleled connectivity and champion-level gameplay” to upcoming flagship smartphones.

Let’s take a close look at the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to understand its prospects for the next generation of mobile devices.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Highlights

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s overall performance is based on the following key pillars:

Snapdragon Smart

snapdragon 8 gen 2 chip
IMAGE: Qualcomm

Just like last year, Qualcomm continues to focus on delivering better AI performance on mobile devices with its Snapdragon 8 series chipsets.

With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, powered by an upgraded Qualcomm Hexagon processor, the company promises to offer improved AI performance in various aspects, like multi-language translation and transcription and capturing premium content with AI Cinematic video.

What makes this possible is Hexagon’s upgraded architecture that now employs a new technology called “micro tile inferencing” and a bigger tensor accelerator. Combined, this promises to deliver up to 4.35x increased AI performance than before.

Another first for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is that it’s the first Snapdragon mobile platform to support INT4—an AI precision format that promises to deliver 60% better performance/watt efficiency for sustained AI inferencing.

Similarly, the Qualcomm Sensing Hub also gets an upgrade on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It now packs dual-AI processors and opens up the possibilities for more intuitive experiences onboard, like direct-to-app voice assistance, among other things.

Snapdragon Sight

Along with improvements in language processing and performance/watt efficiency, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform also promises to bring several enhancements to camera experiences as well.

To make this possible, it incorporates an AI-powered Cognitive ISP. It’s an 18-bit triple Cognitive ISP—the first for Snapdragon—that powers real-time semantic segmentation, which is responsible for identifying different aspects of the subject in a frame, like faces, clothes, hair, backgrounds, etc., to optimize them individually in real-time.

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is also tuned to support new-age sensors. As such, Sony Semiconductor Solutions is said to be developing a quad digital overlap HDR technology specially tuned for Snapdragon. Similarly, Samsung also has a fine-tuned version of its 200MP ISOCELL HP3 sensor optimized for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to offer improved photo and video quality.

Snapdragon Elite Gaming

snapdragon 8 gen 2 gaming features
IMAGE: Qualcomm

On the gaming front, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 gets the entire suite of Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, just like previous Snapdragon 8 chipsets.

However, this time around, Qualcomm is also bringing a couple of new features to the chipset to offer an immersive gaming experience to users. Real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracking is one of them that promises to deliver life-like lighting, reflections, and illuminations to mobile games. Then, there’s the inclusion of support for Unreal Engine 5 and the Metahuman framework, which will help in producing photorealistic human characters in games.

What makes all of this possible is the upgraded core of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. With the new chipset, you get an Adreno GPU that promises to offer up to 25% faster performance than its predecessor. Similarly, there’s also an upgraded Kryo CPU, which comes with 1x prime core (up to 3.2 GHz), 4x performance cores (up to 2.8 GHz), and 3x efficiency cores (up to 2.0 GHz), which promises to bring a 35% improvement in performance with up to 40% power efficiency. Additionally, this also promises to deliver longer battery life to give users more gameplay hours.

Snapdragon Sound

Audio experience on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is powered by the Snapdragon Sound technology, as you’d expect. However, the chipset now gets spatial audio with head-tracking—on supported products—to bring an immersive surround sound experience to flagship smartphones running it.

For those into lossless music, the chipset also brings support for 48kHz lossless streaming. And it even promises ultra-low latency Bluetooth streaming—at <48ms—for giving gamers a lag-free gaming experience.

Snapdragon Connect

snapdragon 8 gen 2 connectivity system
IMAGE: Qualcomm

Equipped with the latest Snapdragon X70 5G Modem RF system, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is the first chipset in the world to feature a dedicated 5G AI processor. As such, it promises to deliver faster 5G upload and download speeds along with improved coverage, latency, and power efficiency.

In addition, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is also the first Snapdragon platform to feature support for 5G Dual-SIM Dual-Active (DSDA), which enables the simultaneous use of two 5G SIM cards at once.

Assisting in connectivity further is Qualcomm’s FastConnect 7800 Mobile Connectivity System. It brings the all-new Wi-Fi 7 connectivity onboard that promises up to 5.8 Gbps of speeds—more than twice of Wi-Fi 6. Then, there’s support for Bluetooth 5.3, which comes with dual connectivity and promises reduced latency while streaming and gaming.

Snapdragon Secure

Last but not least, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 comes with enhanced protection, thanks to Snapdragon Secure. Snapdragon Secure promises to offer improved performance in terms of isolation, cryptography, and key management. It even improves the Face Unlock functionality with the inclusion of liveliness detection.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Specifications

CPUQualcomm Kryo CPU
- 1 Prime core (up to 3.2 GHz)
- 4 Performance cores (up to 2.8 GHz)
- 3 Efficiency cores (up to 2.0 GHz)
GPUQualcomm Adreno GPU
AIQualcomm Hexagon Processor and Qualcomm Sensing Hub (with dual AI processors)
MemoryLPDDR5 memory up to 4200 MHz
Support for up to 16GB
CameraQualcomm Spectra ISP
Cognitive ISP, triple 18-bit ISPs
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, HDR10+, HDR vivid, and Dolby Vision
AudioQualcomm Aqstic audio codec
Spatial Audio with Head Tracking
Qualcomm Audio and Voice Communication Suite
Snapdragon X70 5G Modem-RF System
Up to 10 Gbps downlink and up to 3.5 Gbps uplink
Support for mmWave and sub-6 GHz with SA, NSA, and FDD and TDD modes
Multi-SIM support (DSDA)

Support for Wi-Fi 7
Up to 5.8 Gbps peak speeds
Supported spectral bands: 5 GHz and 6 GHz

Bluetooth 5.3
LE Audio and Snapdragon Sound
Support for aptX Lossless and aptX Adaptiv
Dual Bluetooth antennas

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

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Availability

snapdragon 8 gen 2 mobile platform
IMAGE: Qualcomm

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can be first seen on commercial devices by the end of 2022. It’s shed light on a few global OEMs and brands that’ll be adopting the latest chipset on their upcoming flagship-tier smartphones. Here’s a list of all such brands and OEMs:

  • ASUS Republic of Gamers
  • iQOO
  • Motorola
  • Nubia
  • OnePlus
  • OPPO
  • Redmi
  • Sony
  • Vivo
  • Xiaomi
  • ZTE

From the looks of it, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 appears to be a very capable chipset that seems to have addressed issues with its predecessor, going by the company’s claims. Of course, how much these changes in CPU configuration and efficiency translate into real-world performance remains to be seen until we get our hands on the first Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered smartphone.

Disclosure: Our Editor is in Hawaii on Qualcomm’s invite to attend the Snapdragon Summit 2022.

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