Qualcomm Sets to Redefine Smartphones With Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform hopes to enable unprecedented performance in flagship smartphones, leveraging technology called "Snapdragon Smart" and "Snapdragon Sight."
While many smartphone manufacturers have recently started to design processors in-house, most still do not. For the rest of the industry, the Qualcomm Snapdragon family has been the go-to solution for high-end smartphone solutions.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm
After this week's Snapdragon Summit 2022, Qualcomm is pushing the state of the industry even further with its announcement of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform. With this new generation, Qualcomm is boasting many innovations and advancements, all of which it hopes will usher in a new era of smartphone performance.
Amongst the key pillars of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the most significant is seemingly Snapdragon Smart, which is the name for the device’s artificial intelligence (AI) processing unit.
Designed specifically for AI applications, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is highlighted by Qualcomm’s proprietary AI engine (AIE). The heart of the AIE is Qualcomm’s Hexagon processor, which offers features such as:
- A hardware-based microtile inference
- A fused AI accelerator architecture
- Hexagon Direct Link technology [video], which physically interconnects the cores in such a way as to increase speed and efficiency
The architecture of the Hexagon processor. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm
Further, the Hexagon processor is the first Snapdragon mobile platform to support the INT4 format. Altogether, these features enable the Hexagon processor to achieve an AI performance boost of 4.35x while also being capable of a 60% improvement in performance per watt.
Alongside the Hexagon processor, the AIE also consists of a Qualcomm Kyro CPU, Adreno GPU, and Qualcomm’s latest Sensing Hub. The Sensing Hub, which is designed specifically for processing audio and sensor data, consists of a dual AI processor architecture.
Other features include support for always-sensing cameras and custom wake word detection.
Another exciting feature to come with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sight, which is the name for the imaging system within the Gen 2 architecture.
An overview showing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 architecture. Screenshot used courtesy of Qualcomm [video]
The highlight of Snapdragon Sight is the introduction of a “cognitive image signal processor (ISP).” Thanks to the addition of this ISP, Qualcomm is claiming that its new platform can perform an array of impressive functions. These functions include automatic photo and video enhancement in real-time through the use of semantic segmentation.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is also designed to support a series of new image sensors, including Sony’s quad digital overlap HDR technology and Samsung’s ISOCELL HP3, which is the first 200-megapixel image sensor for Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
All things considered, these innovations enable smartphones with the capability for up to 200-megapixel photo capture and up to 10-bit color depth photo and video capture. Furthermore, this offering is the first Snapdragon to include an AV1 codec with support for video playback up to 8K HDR at 60 frames per second.
Other Notables of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Other exciting features included in the second-generation offering include:
- Snapdragon Sound: A new audio platform that enables spatial audio, including dynamic head tracking for complete surround-sound immersion, as well as a lowest-ever latency of 48 ms
- Snapdragon Secure: The safety subsystem of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 offers the industry standard in isolation, cryptography, and key management.
- Snapdragon Elite Gaming: A gaming subsystem that includes hardware-accelerated ray tracing, an upgraded Adreno GPU, and a Kyro CPU. With these features, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 claims 25% faster performance with 40% more power efficiency for gaming applications.
Featured image used courtesy of Qualcomm
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