Qualcomm launches its latest top-end smartphone chip

US mobile chip giant Qualcomm has unveiled the latest iteration of its flagship SoC, which will be powering many of the most expensive devices next year.

As we were led to believe almost a year ago, this year’s top-end SoC is called the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Platform. Inevitably Qualcomm couldn’t resist an interim upgrade back in May of this year, which required a further tweak of its already convoluted naming scheme, but this is the main annual refresh.

“We are passionate about enabling people to do more, so we design Snapdragon with the user at the centre,” said Chris Patrick, GM of mobile handsets at Qualcomm. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, will revolutionize the landscape of flagship smartphones in 2023. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 delivers ground-breaking AI, unparalleled connectivity, and champion-level gameplay, enabling consumers to enhance every experience on their most trusted device.”

As the canned quote indicates, Qualcomm is stressing the multiple capabilities of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The top-line stats are that Qualcomm claims the Kryo CPU delivers 35% faster performance and 40% better power efficiency than the Gen 1, while the Adreno GPU apparently manages 25% faster graphics rendering. Then there are special bits of the SoC for image processing (Spectra), AI (Hexagon) and so on, as you can see below.

This all translates to what Qualcomm’s marketing people have decided to call ‘key experience pillars’, of which there are six. Smart refers to the AI capability; Sight to the ISP; Elite Gaming the CPU and GPU; Connect the X70 5G Modem-RF System; Sound some special audio tech; and Secure the bit of the chip dedicated to security.

That does seem to be a fairly comprehensive bundle of cool tech, which presumably secures Qualcomm’s position at the head of the field when it comes to third party smartphone SoCs for another year. How the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 compares to the in-house chips made by Apple and Samsung, however, remains to be seen. We’ll leave you with a couple of tweets from analysts who made it to the launch event.


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