Straight from Hawaii, the technoblog accompanied the launch of the chip that will equip top-of-the-line Android smartphones in 2023. Qualcomm presented this Tuesday (15) the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which promises improvements in artificial intelligence, new features for capturing audio and video and support for Wi-Fi 7. The first cell phones with the component should arrive by the end of the year.
Qualcomm highlighted the upgrade made to the Hexagon processor, part of the chip dedicated to AI tasks. The promise is 4.35 times greater performance.
In technical details, there was a change from the FP32 format to the INT4 — the company says that this allowed for a 60% improvement in energy efficiency.
The Sensing Hub — the part of the chip responsible for controlling the smartphone’s sensors — now also has a dual AI processor. According to Qualcomm, this will allow you to activate the devices with custom words.
Artificial intelligence is also present in the image sensor processor, the ISP. Thanks to this, the company promises that, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the device’s cameras can always be activated. So, you could read a QR Code without activating the device and opening the app.
Another feature would be to protect privacy: the device would automatically turn off the screen if an unidentified face was captured by the lens, avoiding that peek.
Since we’re talking about cameras, let’s move on to photo and video.
Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is able to more quickly recognize images in photos and videos and do what it calls semantic segmentation.
It’s as if, when taking a picture of a landscape, the chip understood what the sky is, what the sea is and what the beach sand is, for example. This goes for faces as well: the ISP understands what skin, hair, eyes, and so on are.
With that, the post-processing becomes easier, since the chip can adjust the parameters for each region of the image.
Another use is the cinematographic mode in videos, the one that blurs different parts according to the gaze of the people in the scene.
In terms of resolution, the numbers are the same as in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: up to 200 megapixels for photos and 8K HDR at 60 fps for videos.
CPU and GPU
Leaving image processing and artificial intelligence aside, let’s go to the most raw part of the chip: CPU and GPU.
Qualcomm claims that the updated Adreno GPU performs 25% faster than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
It brings Vulkan 1.3 support and ray tracing improvements. According to the company, it is the first chip with optimized support for the Unreal Engine 5 Metahumans Framework, which helps create more realistic human characters.
The Kryo CPU offers 40% more power efficiency. Incidentally, it continues to be manufactured with TSMC’s 4 nm process. It still has eight cores, but they are organized differently.
Before, there was a “prime” nucleus, three for the heavy ones and four for the simple ones. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 exchanged one of the weakest cores for an intermediate one – now, there are four in the middle layer and three in the lowest.
Connectivity and sound
The system-on-a-chip includes a modem, one of the things Qualcomm excels at. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 comes with the X70 5G modem. It supports two always-on 5G SIM cards.
The FastConnect 7800 system, announced in Februaryis also part of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It brings Wi-Fi 7 and dual Bluetooth connection.
It is worth remembering that Wi-Fi 7 is still a developing standard and is not commercially available. What Qualcomm did was support some features that will be present in it, such as simultaneous multilink connection, to maintain stability, and 240 MHz and 320 MHz channels in the 6 GHz band.
In sound, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 supports lossless audio at 48 kHz and dynamic spatial audio with head tracking. Synchronization is guaranteed by a latency of just 48 ms.
Qualcomm has listed a series of manufacturers on the list of those who will adopt the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The list has Asus, Motorola, Oppo and Xiaomi, among those present here in Brazil, in addition to strong names in the international market, such as Honor, OnePlus, Sharp, Sony and ZTE.
According to the company, the first commercial devices are planned for the end of 2022.
Giovanni Santa Rosa traveled to Hawaii at the invitation of Qualcomm🇧🇷