News has started to emerge about what we can expect when Qualcomm unveils the latest version of its flagship Snapdragon 8 chipset. So, what will the next flagship chip bring to the table and when can you expect to see it in new phones?
Here’s all we know so far about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
When will the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 be released?
There’s been no official announcement from Qualcomm about the release date, although it been widely expected to occur at the beginning of December when the company has traditionally introduced new models. GSM Arena has reported a potential slip-up by the company when it posted on the official Qualcomm website that the ‘fifth annual Snapdragon Tech Summit is coming soon, stay tuned for more information’. The post was also accompanied by a date for the summit – 14-17 November 2022.
The post was subsequently removed, leading to suspicions that it was put up in error, but may still have inadvertently announced the launch date of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
What specs and features will we see in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2?
Again, there’s been no confirmed specifications from Qualcomm regarding how the design of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will differ from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that we’ve seen in the wild for the last year. But there have been some solid rumours that do part the veils somewhat.
NotebookCheck reported on a tip from tech leaker Ice Universe where they stated that the new processor was addressing one of the main problems with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
After the launch of the Gen 1, it came to light from various sources that when used in demanding tasks, the chip could start to overheat. This seems to have been alleviated in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which according to the post above does a better job of managing its energy efficiency. That’s good news when it comes to performance and the durability of devices using the new chipset.
Another post from a reliable tech tipster, this time Digital Chat Station on Chinese site Weibo, outlined how the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 would be configured, raising a few eyebrows along the way.
The chipset has the code name of SM8550 (Kailua), and his description starts with the more standard elements such as a 4nm process that will be fabricated by TSMC rather than Samsung and an Adreno 740 GPU. It gets a bit more unusual when you look at how the cores will be configured.
According to the post it will use four types of cores rather than the more standard three found in Qualcomm’s chipsets for the past few years. These will be comprised of one Cortex-X3, two Cortex-A720, two Cortex-A710 and three Cortex-A510.
The Cortex-X3 is Arm’s newly announced prime core, which boasts 25% performance improvements over its predecessor. The company didn’t announce a Cortex-A720, but it’s likely the leaker is referencing the chip we now know is called the Cortex-A715. What’s odd is that this is the replacement for the A710, so it’s odd that Qualcomm would be considering a design that uses cores from both generations.
It’s possible that this is due to Qualcomm wanting to continue support for 32-bit apps. The X3 and A715 are 64-bit only, but the A710 and A510 include 32-bit support, so using those cores may enable to chip to drive some – albeit basic – performance in 32-bit apps. It’s an interesting move, with both Arm and Google keen for manufacturers and developers to make the switch to 64-bit, something Apple already implemented in iOS and macOS several years ago.
This 1+2+2+3 arrangement is new and presumably will alleviate heat issues while delivering the flagship performance we’d expect from Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line processor for 2023. As the SoC is built on the same 4nm process as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the novel approach will hopefully allow the chipset to add improvements in speed and efficiency to that of the previous generation.
Which phones will use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2?
As the chipset itself hasn’t been announced yet, we don’t have confirmed models that will arrive with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 onboard, but there are several likely candidates.
Xiaomi is always a company that likes to lead out with the latest processors. It was one of the first to sport the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in its Xiaomi 12 range, and some rumours we’ve seen suggest that this might be repeated when the Xiaomi 13 range arrives at the end of the year.
Samsung’s Galaxy range usually launches in February each year, making it the perfect time to include the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 into its flagships. We fully expect to see the Samsung Galaxy S23 arrive with Qualcomm’s new hardware inside in the US, though versions in Europe and other markets may instead use one of Samsung’s own chips, as we’ve seen in the past.
After that, it would be hard to see any premium hardware that debuts after December using anything but the latest silicon – though that could mean this, or the upcoming flagship from rival MediaTek. So, if you’re thinking of buying a new high-end smartphone this year, you may just want to wait until the winter to see if something better comes along. Of course, that is always the situation with tech and there’s no point holding out for the perfect phone, because within a few months it will be surpassed by the latest and greatest.
With that in mind, be sure to read our roundup of the best phones and best phones coming in 2022 to see what you can get your hands on right now. Tomorrow will always bring something new.