Qualcomm's next-tier Android chip adds ray tracing and Wi-Fi 7 connectivity

Qualcomm’s next-tier Android chip adds ray tracing and Wi-Fi 7 connectivity

Next year’s top Android phones will feature smarter AI, better power efficiency, ray tracing, and connect to next-generation home Wi-Fi, thanks to a new premium chipset that Qualcomm revealed Tuesday in its annual Snapdragon release. summit.

The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset is faster and more efficient than its predecessors, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and 8 Gen 1 Plus. Qualcomm’s top-tier chips power the most expensive Android phones that compete with Apple’s iPhones. The first phones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor are expected to be released by the end of 2022.

Phones using the new silicon will come from brands like OnePlus, Asus, Vivo, and Oppo, though Qualcomm hasn’t revealed specific models yet.

Samsung is clearly missing from this list, which usually includes the latest premium Snapdragon chipsets in its S series flagship phones launched earlier every year. We were expecting the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S23 to feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, but there’s always a chance – however slim – that Samsung will buck tradition and go with a different chipset.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S23: The biggest features I want to see

In addition to better performance, phones with the new chipset will offer improved AI that can, for example, highlight you more accurately against a blurred zoom background. Qualcomm also promises more vibrant images as the artificial intelligence deconstructs the image even before you click the shutter button, analyzing and processing the layers separately for more realistic colors. The phones are also expected to get more reliable 5G service as AI upgrades to the chipset find better connections with signal towers, with AI improvements being incorporated into Snapdragon X70 modem It was presented at MWC 2022 back in February.

The always-on front camera from last year has been rebranded as an “always-on sensing camera,” which will constantly check for things it’s taught to identify. Manufacturers can set their phones to stop displaying notifications if the front camera recognizes someone else is leaning over to look at your screen, while the rear camera can look for and process QR codes, even when the phone is locked. The cameras don’t store this footage, Chris Patrick, senior vice president of engineering at Qualcomm, told CNET. He said they are only looking for visual patterns that closely resemble the voice assistants listening for triggered phrases but not recording audio.

“The sensor camera is always looking for some image that meets some criteria, and then it says ‘I found it,’ and then it will make a decision about what you want to do next,” Patrick said. Phones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor will not have this feature by default because it will be the manufacturers who decide what they want to do with the always-on sensor functionality.

Like the newly unveiled MediaTek Dimensity chipset 9200Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 supports Wi-Fi 7, the next generation of wireless connectivity that builds on the additional spectrum capabilities introduced in Wi-Fi 6E devices. While no routers or devices using Wi-Fi 7 have been released yet, Qualcomm expects it will achieve around 5.8Gbps download speed and support less than 2ms of latency.

The Adreno GPU from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 got tweaks for 25% better power saving, but gamers will be more interested in real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing. The latest gaming-focused technological advancement, ray tracing simulates real-world lighting effects to show more realistic reflections and shadows. Rather than having the same effect via software, incorporating ray tracing at the hardware level brings Qualcomm’s mobile chipset more in line with console and PC graphics.

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