At the annual Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm announced a new generation of chips under the Snapdragon branding. The showstopper was the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, essentially an incremental update to last year’s Snapdragon 888 and is targeted for the next generation of flagship Android phones coming later this year and next year. However, the San Diego-based company also released the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 as two of its new system-on-chip (SoC) models for Windows laptops and Chromebooks, and the Snapdragon G3x as its chip designed for portable gaming devices.

Host Akhil Arora speaks with Review Editor Jamshed Avari and Senior Reviewer Sheldon Pinto on this week’s Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital episode to discuss Qualcomm’s new announcements.

Snapdragon 2022

The big launch for phones at this year’s Snapdragon Tech Summit was the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. The chip doesn’t have huge upgrades over the Snapdragon 888 launched last year. However, it has some incremental changes claimed to help deliver better processing, faster artificial intelligence (AI) performance, and improved graphics.

The only major change with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the new branding that differs from the existing number ranges. This was evident because Qualcomm was running out of numbers – thanks to the launch of several Snapdragon number series in the recent past. Qualcomm now also seems to promote Snapdragon as a particular brand using the new vocabulary.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has all-new branding that spares the company’s number sequence title. Photo Credit: Qualcomm.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is also said to have attractive features, including an 18-bit image signal processor (ISP) capable of capturing 8K HDR videos. There’s also a new always-on ISP that Qualcomm says will help enable always-on face unlock and lock the device when you’re not looking at the screen. However, this particular update may cause some privacy issues.

Qualcomm has also developed an on-device AI technology in partnership with health tech company Sonde Health, which it claims analyzes users’ voting patterns to determine if they are at risk for health conditions, including asthma, depression, and COVID-19.

The features of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 could help Qualcomm maintain its strong presence in the smartphone market in 2022 and make it an active competitor to Taiwanese MediaTek, which also has its Dimensity range of 5G chips.

In addition to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 as its new chip for premium Windows laptops and Chromebooks. It is the successor to the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 and is built using the 5nm process technology. The chip claims to offer faster performance than competing x86 platforms. The company also brought the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 chip to affordable laptops and Chromebooks, along with support for 5G connectivity.

Both Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 seem to be Qualcomm’s answer to Intel and AMD – the traditional chip makers in the laptop market. However, Qualcomm’s rival MediaTek is also exploring to gain both revenue and popularity in the laptop market with its chips.

And as a foray into a new market, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 as its first chip for portable gaming devices. This can be embraced by manufacturers looking to develop dedicated hardware for mobile gamers. Companies like Asus, Black Shark, and Nubia have tried to please that audience with their gaming phones in the past. But Qualcomm seems to have taken a different approach this time.

Qualcomm, in partnership with Razer, presented a concept for a handheld gaming device that it gives to developers to build games for its new move. However, we have yet to see how big the chipmaker and partners like Razer could do to make a shift in the gaming industry with their continued efforts.

Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Handheld Gaming Developer Kit is a concept of what we might see in the future Photo Credit: Qualcomm.

We discuss this and more in this episode of Orbital. You can catch it by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.

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