the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Chipset is official, and if you’re looking to upgrade your top-of-the-line Android phone next year, you will likely find this chipset powering your new flagship device.
We’ve learned what the new chip is capable of, and you’ll find everything you need to know about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 here in our reporting elsewhere.
Flights and accommodation for this kick-off event were funded by Qualcomm, but views reflect the author’s own independent opinion.
Do you only want to know the most important changes? We have compiled this list of the possible changes on your next Android phone. There are six key features you need to know about, and these will give you an idea of what to expect in upcoming flagships like this Samsung Galaxy S22, OnePlus 10, Xiaomi 12 and more.
1. An always-on camera can bring great new features
Let’s start with what is arguably the biggest change. Thanks to the new chipset, your smartphone’s camera is always on. Don’t worry, it won’t take selfies all the time – it’s designed to enable other functions instead of taking photos.
Why would that be of use to you? It allows developers to add features specifically designed to use your phone’s camera without your touching the device.
One example Qualcomm has cited is that you can unlock your phone without touching it. Think about how you might cook with ingredients in your hands and this will allow you to unlock your phone without it getting dirty.
Some have raised safety concerns about how it works, and you may be concerned about it too. Qualcomm insists on doing this in a safe way to make sure no one can take your data off your phone’s cameras, but it will be interesting to see how people could use the feature.
2. There are many, many camera upgrades available
Aside from the always-on camera, there are many other upgrades that you can find for your smartphone’s camera. An 18-bit image signal processor (ISP), improved night mode photography, better wide-angle shots, stronger face recognition technology, 8K HDR video recording … the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is focused on its camera upgrade.
While the always-on upgrade here is the headline-capturing feature, there are plenty of other little tweaks you might see on the Snapper of your next phone that improve the overall experience.
There aren’t many breakthrough features here, however. Camera phones are awesome already, but these minor upgrades will likely tweak the performance you get from your smartphone’s shooter a bit, rather than overhauling the entire experience.
3. Calls will block out background noise
Qualcomm’s Voice Suite technology was upgraded in 2021, and the goal is to block out background noise when recording. For example, when you’re on a video call, this new technology uses artificial intelligence to block out noises like sirens or typing.
We saw a demo of the technology, and it worked amazingly well in Qualcomm’s examples. This was on a reference device in a demo set up by Qualcomm so we are most interested in seeing this on a real device to see how it works in practice.
If it works as well as the suggested demos, it could change how you are recorded on calls and how you are heard by your co-workers, friends, and family.
4. You can reach 10 Gbit / s internet
This won’t be useful for everyone, but when you have a phenomenally good 5G connection you will find that you can get faster speeds than ever before.
The Snapdragon 888 last year was limited to 7.5 Gbps, which is fantastic fast too. It’s nearly impossible to get these speeds on an average day, but it’s useful to know that your 2022 flagship will be able to do it.
5. Bokeh video is coming to Android
The bokeh effect lets you blur the background of a subject, and it’s common in portrait modes across the Android sphere. Until now, if you wanted to achieve this effect while recording video, it was not possible.
We don’t know yet which manufacturers will have this feature, but it is likely that many of the upcoming Android phones will install this into camera apps so you can play with it. It’s also capable of recording up to 4K.
6. Faster than ever, of course
As you’d expect, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the company’s fastest chipset, which means your smartphone will be faster when loading apps, playing games, and anything else you throw at them.
According to Qualcomm, the CPU here is 20% faster than the Snapdragon 888 and also offers 30% energy savings over the results of this chip. The Adreno GPU is 30% faster, which means games load faster and look better than ever before.
We won’t know how well the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 really fares until we see it in new smartphones (and whatever hardware manufacturers choose to pair it with), but it looks like a big upgrade for the biggest phones on the market Year 2022.