Qualcomm on Friday unveiled the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 SoCs as its latest mobile platforms. While the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is an upgrade to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 platform, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 is the successor to the Snapdragon 778G SoC. Qualcomm claimed that the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is capable of delivering up to 10 percent faster CPU performance and 30 percent improved power efficiency over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, on the other hand, is touted to offer 20 percent faster graphics rendering over its predecessor. Alongside the new mobile platforms, the chipmaker unveiled its Wireless AR Smart Viewer reference design based on the Snapdragon XR2 platform.
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 availability timeline
The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile platform will be used by smartphone brands including Asus ROG, Black Shark, Honor, iQoo, Lenovo, Motorola, Nubia, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Redmi, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE. Phones based on the new Snapdragon platform will debut starting the third quarter of this year, Qualcomm said.
However, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 will be available on phones from companies including Honor, Oppo, and Xiaomi in the second quarter.
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 specifications
The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 can be clocked up to 3.2GHz that helps deliver as much as 10 percent faster CPU performance over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that debuted in December. The new chip carries the same architecture of the existing flagship Snapdragon model, with the same Kryo CPU and Adreno GPU. However, it has a faster clock speed to offer better performance. The San Diego-based company also claims that the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is capable of giving up to 60 additional minutes of gameplay on a single charge.
In terms of photography, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 has the latest Snapdragon Sight technologies that enable 8K HDR video recording as well as HDR+ support. There is the 18-bit triple ISP under the hood, which is claimed to offer up to 64-megapixel photos.
The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 also has the fourth-generation Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System that brings 5G speeds of up to 10Gbps. There is also the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 System that enables Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 6 support. There is also Bluetooth v5.3 connectivity.
Qualcomm has integrated its Snapdragon Sound Technology within the new platform that is claimed to help enable high-resolution music playback, clear voice calls, and superior audio experience while playing games and videos. The proprietary technology also includes Qualcomm apX Lossless sound and LE Audio. This is claimed to enable over 17 hours of longer audio playback.
For on-device artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 has the seventh-generation Qualcomm AI Engine that is touted to enable up to 20 percent better performance per watt than its predecessor. There is also Quick Charge 5 connectivity.
Based on 4nm process technology, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 brings support for LPDD5 RAM with up to 3200MHz frequency and of up to 16GB capacity. It also supports USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity as well as up to 4K display with 60Hz refresh rate or QHD+ screen with up to 144Hz refresh rate.
Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 specifications
The Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 is designed with keeping mobile gaming in mind. The chip includes some of the premium Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, including Adreno Frame Motion Engine that is claimed to be capable of doubling the framerate to upscale content. There is also support for Quad HD+ display.
Qualcomm has integrated its Spectra triple ISP within the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 platform that brings support for up to three cameras as well as to take photos with up to 200-megapixel resolution. There is also the seventh-generation Qualcomm AI Engine that brings the Deep Learning Face Detect feature. This is touted to be based on 300 facial landmarks and helps provide accurate autofocus, even when wearing a mask.
The company claims that the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 has up to 30 percent improved AI performance over the Snapdragon 778G SoC that was launched in May last year.
The 4nm process-based Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 is also the first model in the Snapdragon 7 series to carry a Dedicated Trust Management Engine and Android Ready SE to deliver enhanced user security. Further, there is the fourth-generation Snapdragon X62 5G Modem-RF System for faster 5G support. The platform also comes with FastConnect 6900 for Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth v5.3 connectivity. There is also the Snapdragon Sound integration for a jitter-free audio experience, the company said.
Qualcomm’s Wireless AR Smart Viewer
In addition to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, Qualcomm unveiled the Wireless AR Smart Viewer reference design to help equipment and design manufacturers bring new augmented reality (AR) glasses. The reference design is based on the Snapdragon XR2 platform and has a 40 percent thinner profile along with a more ergonomically balanced weight distribution over the earlier AR Smart Viewer design that was powered by the Snapdragon XR1 platform.
Developed by China’s Goertek, the hardware of the Wireless AR Smart Viewer includes dual micro-OLED binocular display that enables 1,920×1,080 resolution per eye and a frame rate of up to 90Hz. The glasses also have a no-motion-blur feature to offer a seamless AR experience, Qualcomm said.
The reference design also includes dual monochrome cameras and one RGB camera to enable six-degrees of freedom (6DoF) head tracking and hand tracking support, along with gesture recognition.
Qualcomm has integrated its FastConnect 6900 to offer Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth support. The reference design is also claimed to have less than three milliseconds of latency between the connected smartphone and its displays.
The design can be paired with Qualcomm’s FastConnect XR Software Suite to offer features including better control and preferential channel access for XR traffic and purpose-built power modes. It weighs 115 grams and has a frame thickness of 15.6mm. There is also a 650mAh battery.
Qualcomm has initially provided its Wireless AR Smart Viewer to select partners, though its wider availability is set to take place in the coming months.
The purpose of bringing the new solution is to bolster the development of AR devices. It will also help Qualcomm to attract manufacturers who are exploring ways to enter the growing metaverse space.
The reference design may also help smartphone vendors and other players in the market to build new devices that would compete against Apple’s rumoured AR glasses.