Qualcomm has announced its new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile processor, a chip it says will significantly enhance the computational photography capabilities of the upcoming smartphones.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has what Qualcomm describes as its most advanced artificial intelligence (AI) engine that is driven by an upgraded Hexagon Processor. This combination allows it to perform 4.35 times better when it comes to AI features. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is also the first of Qualcomm’s mobile chips to support INT4, an AI precision format that has a 60% performance-to-watt improvement that will allow for sustained AI inferencing.
What Qualcomm calls Snapdragon Sight is the most important update for photographers. The company says it will “define a new era of professional quality camera experiences” thanks to the first Cognitive ISP (image signal processor).
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can automatically enhance photos and videos in real-time with what Qualcomm calls semantic segmentation, the process by which an AI neural network can make the camera contextually aware of faces, facial features, hair, clothes, skies, and other factors and optimize them individually so every detail receives customized professional image tuning.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is also tuned to support new image sensors, including Sony which was the first to develop a quad digital overlay HDR technology. It also is set to back up Samsung’s ISOCELL HP3, its massive 200-megapixel smartphone sensor that has been showcased several times over the past year but has yet to make an appearance in a Samsung device. Combined with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Qualcomm says this high-resolution sensor will be able to deliver professional-quality photos and videos.
This new chip is also Qualcomm’s first to support the AV1 codec and therefore allows the playback of up to 8K HDR at 60 frames per second.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 of course also powers gaming features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing as well as connectivity features: it is the world’s first 5G AI processor in a mobile platform — and the only commercial Wi-Fi 7 SoC with High Band Simultaneous Multi-Link. This generation of Snapdragon Sound also promises better spatial audio with dynamic head tracking.
Qualcomm says that this generation mobile processor is set to be adopted by global equipment manufacturers including Asus, iQOO, Motorola, OnePLus, Oppo, Sharp, Sony, Vivo, Xiaomi, and others. While not specifically mentioned, it would be very odd to not see Samsung use Qualcomm as well. The first commercial devices that take advantage of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 are expected by the end of 2022.
Image credits: Qualcomm