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

Next year’s top-of-the-line Android phones will feature smarter AI, offer better power efficiency, incorporate ray tracing and connect to next-generation home Wi-Fi, thanks to the new premium chipset Qualcomm revealed on Tuesday at their annual Snapdragon. Summit.

The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset is faster and more efficient than its predecessors, the 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 Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 are expected to launch in late 2022.

Phones using the new silicon will come from brands like OnePlus, Asus, Vivo and Oppo, though Qualcomm has yet to reveal specific models.

Standing out on this list is Samsung, which typically packs the latest premium Snapdragon chipset into its S-series flagship phones that launch early each year. We’d expect the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S23 to feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, but there’s always a chance, however small, that Samsung breaks tradition and opts for a different chipset.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S23: The most important 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 your blurred Zoom background. Qualcomm also promises more vibrant photos as the AI ​​breaks down the image before you even click the shutter button, analyzing the layers and treating them separately for truer colour. Phones are also expected to get more reliable 5G service as chipset AI upgrades find better connections with signal towers, integrating AI enhancements into the Snapdragon X70 modem presented at MWC 2022 in February.

Last year’s always-on front-facing camera has been rebranded as a “constant detection camera,” which will constantly check for objects it’s been taught to recognize. Manufacturers can configure their phones to stop displaying notifications if the front-facing camera recognizes someone leaning in to look at its screen, while the rear-facing camera can search for and process QR codes, even when the phone is turned off. Cameras don’t store these images, Chris Patrick, Qualcomm’s senior vice president of engineering, told CNET. They’re only looking for visual patterns, much like voice assistants listen for trigger phrases but don’t record audio, he said.

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

Like the newly revealed from MediaTek Dimension 9200 chipset, the Snapdragon 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 hardware. While routers or devices using Wi-Fi 7 have not yet been released, Qualcomm expects it to achieve around 5.8 Gbps download speeds and support less than 2ms latency.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Adreno GPU received tweaks to achieve 25% higher power savings, but gamers will be more interested in real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing. The latest gaming-focused technological breakthrough, ray tracing simulates real-world lighting effects to display more realistic reflections and shadows. Rather than getting the same effect through software, the integration of ray tracing at the hardware level brings Qualcomm’s mobile chipset more in line with console and PC graphics.

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