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Qualcomm announces next-gen flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC

Snapdragon has unveiled its latest mobile SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, at the Snapdragon Tech Summit 2021. The SoC is built on a 4nm process and promises to boost AI, gaming, camera and connectivity features.

The chip promises download speeds of up to 10 Gbps, includes the first commercial 18-bit phone image stabilisation and claims to be the world’s first platform compliant with the Android Ready Secure Element Alliance. 

Snapdragon also added that the SoC would be adapted by global OEMs, including Black Shark, Honor, iQOO, Motorola, Nubia, OnePlus, OPPO, Realme, Redmi, SHARP, Sony Corporation, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE, with commercial devices expected to arrive by the end of 2021. 

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Next-gen Snapdragon flagship is here

The 8 Gen 1 brings improvements on its predecessors across the table. The new X65 Modem-RF system allows the SoC to reach 10 Gbps download speeds while the FastConnect 6900 Mobile Connectivity System helps reach speeds of up to 3.6 Gbps over WiFi 6 and 6E.

Users can expect a 30% boost with the new Adreno GPU and a 25% improvement in power efficiency. Snapdragon claims that the Adreno Frame Motion Engine can generate twice as many frames on the same power consumption. 

Game developers also get to take advantage of the Variable Rate Shading Pro feature for more control over fine-tuning performance, and better volumetric rendering brings more realistic fog, smoke and particle effects to mobile games optimised for smartphones Qualcomm’s own Snapdragon Studios.

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The new chip brings significant AI, security and camera improvements.

The chip also boasts a tensor accelerator over two times faster and twice as much shared memory compared to older chips. The company is also working in collaboration with Sonde Health to use on-device AI to determine whether a user is at health conditions including asthma, depression and even COVID-19 by analysing vocal patterns. 

Camera improvements include the first commercial 18-bit ISP capable of capturing over 4000 times more camera data than its predecessor. This allows for better dynamic range (up to four more stops), better colour reproduction, sharpness at speeds of up to 3.2 gigapixels a second. You also get what Snapdragon claims to be the first 8K HDR video capture on smartphones capable of capturing the HDR10+ format. 

Lock screens are also looking to be a thing of the past thanks to a fourth always-on ISP hidden in the AI processing core that uses little power and powers things like always-on face unlocking and locking your phone if it doesn’t detect your face in front of the phone. 

This is also the first Snapdragon platform to support LE audio features, including broadcast audio, stereo recording and voice back-channel for gaming. Another first is a dedicated Trust Management Engine to provide better security and additional Root of Trust for apps and services. 

Lastly, the chip also supports iSIMs — an integrated SIM card that allows users to connect to a cellular network without a physical SIM card. 

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