Next-gen of AI-focused Snapdragons Take a Bite Out of Mobile Devices
Qualcomm shakes up the mobile world by announcing new members to their Snapdragon family, the 8 Gen 1, 8cx, and 7c+, which aim to bring innovative AI mobile platforms to users.
For over a decade, Qualcomm has developed Snapdragon, a suite of system on chip (SoC) products that target mobile devices utilizing ARM Cortex-based architectures to equip handheld devices with artificial intelligence (AI) engines and faster processing speeds.
Recently, there have been some new additions to the family of SoCs, showcased at this years’ Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is one release announced at the Snapdragon Tech Summit. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm
A standout from the summit was the keynotes regarding AI engines being implemented into the next-gen Snapdragons. Qualcomm references having 'fast tensor accelerators,' which refers to the products having an AI-based application-specific IC (ASIC), typically faster than conventional CPUs.
In general, Qualcomm's Snapdragon portfolio will now leverage tensor accelerating technology in its latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 8cx Gen 3, and 7c+ Gen 3 devices, aiming to increase the rate of commercialization of AI for mobile devices.
This article will look at Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and then dive into some recent additions.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
The big news out of the Snapdragon Tech Summit is the release of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile platform.
All in all, the driving force behind this next-gen technology is the improved AI-accelerator, providing approximately six tera-operations per second (TOPS), giving this most efficient performance-per-watt as compared to previous generations of Snapdragons.
An overview of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1's offerings. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm
A unique feature for this next-gen SoC is a dedicated Trust Management Engine for data protection. Qualcomm's secure processing unit works through an integrated SIM card that gives users the option to easily remove the SIM card before connecting to any cellular network to protect personal information.
This mobile platform offers an industry-first 5G modem-RF solution, capable of reaching 10 G download speeds and an integrated AI-based 7th generation Qualcomm AI engine.
Additionally, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is equipped with Qualcomm's Hexagon processor, which doubles the accelerator processing speed and shared memory.
Expanding Snapdragon’s Portfolio: 8cx and 7c+
Not only did Qualcomm announce a new family of Snapdragon SoCs, but it also added the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and 7c+ Gen 3 for mobile PCs. Both updates aim to utilize smart, connected technology to modernize PC experiences and mobile computing for end-users.
Overview of the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm
The first update is the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 compute platform, which is at 5 nm technology, a first for Windows PC platforms.
The 8cx Gen 3 features the Qualcomm Kryo CPU, a 64-bit architecture with similar low power consumption to previous generations. The significant difference is the generational performance boost of 29+ TOPS of acceleration, increasing efficiency and performance per watt over Wi-Fi 6/6E connectivity compared to its predecessor over 4G networks. Additionally, it has an uploading speed of 316 Mbps at 15 W of power, a 60% increase over previous iterations.
The second release is the Snapdragon 7c+ platform, updated with the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3.
At 6 nm, the SoC features 6.5 TOPS of AI combinations. The camera and audio reach 4K HDR quality with an Echo-Cancellation and noise suppression (ECNS), using a section from Qualcomm's voice suite. The ECNS allows the mobile device to filter and mitigate unwanted background noise.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform is largely versatile with Google Pixel and Intel compatibility. It brings AI-based technology into mobile devices to improve user experience in gaming, automotive, IoT devices while still meeting the demands for downsized ICs.
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