Qualcomm debuts new flagship Snapdragon processor for mobile devices

Qualcomm debuts new flagship Snapdragon processor for mobile devices

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Qualcomm Inc. today debuted its new flagship mobile processor, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which features speed and power efficiency improvements as well as an enhanced machine learning module.

The company also introduced two other additions to its product portfolio today. The first is a new processor for midrange mobile devices, while the other is a reference design that hardware makers can use to build augmented reality glasses. 

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor is an improved version of its previous flagship chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which debuted last November. Both products are based on a system-on-chip design. A system-on-chip is a processor that combines multiple types of computing modules in a single package.

The new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 features a central processing unit that uses up to 30% less power than its predecessor. Qualcomm also promises a 10% performance improvement. The CPU is joined by an upgraded graphics processing unit that likewise offers up to 30% better power efficiency and a 10% speed increase.

As part of its feature set, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 provides a machine learning module for speeding up apps that use artificial intelligence to power some of their features. Qualcomm has upgraded the module to further improve AI apps’ performance. According to the company, the processor’s machine learning module offers 20% higher maximum performance than the one in its previous flagship mobile chip.

Thanks to Qualcomm’s upgrades, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is reportedly 15% more power-efficient than its predecessor. As a result, a smartphone powered by the processor can run video games for up to an hour longer per charge than earlier handsets. When running computationally demanding apps, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 can operate at speeds as high as 3.2 gigahertz.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip series features an array of processors each optimized for different types of devices. Alongside the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which focuses on top-end devices, the company offers processors designed for lower-end handsets. Qualcomm refreshed this part of its portfolio as well today with the introduction of the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, which is designed to power midrange devices.

The Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 reportedly features an eight-core CPU based on chip designs from Arm Holdings plc. One of the CPU cores features a 2.4GHz clock rate, three run at a 2.36GHz frequency and the remaining four run at 1.8GHz. 

The processor’s GPU, meanwhile, has been upgraded to provide 20% more performance. When running AI software, the chip can provide up to 30% more performance than its predecessor.

The Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 features a 5G modem that allows it to support wireless connections up to 33% faster than the previous-generation Qualcomm chip. Additionally, Qualcomm has equipped the processor with a cybersecurity module for storing data such as encryption keys. The module makes it more difficult for hackers to target mobile devices with malware. 

“In the mobile segment, our primary focus is to deliver new, groundbreaking features and technologies to the industry, and for our customers’ flagship devices,” said Christopher Patrick, Qualcomm’s senior vice president and general manager for mobile handsets. “We implement these features first in our Snapdragon 8-series and then waterfall them down our mobile roadmap.”

In recent years, Qualcomm has sought to accelerate its revenue growth by expanding its focus beyond the mobile device market to other areas. The AR hardware segment is one of the areas that the company is prioritizing.

Alongside the new Snapdragon chips, Qualcomm today introduced a new reference design for AR glasses. A reference design is a blueprint that removes the need for hardware makers to develop everything from scratch when creating a new product. The result is that new devices can be brought to market faster. 

Many current AR devices have to be connected to a smartphone with a cable to operate. Qualcomm’s new reference design, known as the Wireless AR Smart Viewer, removes the need for cables and can wirelessly link to a smartphone with latency of less than three milliseconds. Qualcomm is also promising several other benefits, including improved ergonomics, Bluetooth connectivity and support for latest Wi-Fi 6 and 6E wireless networking standards.

Photo: Qualcomm

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