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Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, a new mobile system-on-a-chip (SoC) focused on bringing generative AI to our future smartphones. 

Announced at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii on Tuesday, the new SoC, the company said, is “meticulously designed with generative AI in mind.” 

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The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 comes with a variety of improvements on the previous Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC. These include an upgraded Kryo CPU (up to 3.3 GHz), benchmarked at a 30% performance and 20% power efficiency boost; Arm Cortex-X4 technology; an enhanced AI Engine; Adreno GPU; the Hexagon NPU (which Qualcomm claims is up to 98% faster with a performance boost of up to 40%); and a host of upgrades for gaming, photography, and AI applications. 

This year, Qualcomm is emphasizing the artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities of its mobile offerings. Qualcomm’s AI engine now supports multi-modal generative AI models, large language models (LLM), language vision models (LVM), and transformer network-based automatic speech recognition (ASR) at over 10 billion parameters. 

According to the firm, LLMs can now operate at up to 20 tokens per second, which translates into enhancements for virtual assistants and more personalized responses, supported by Qualcomm’s Sensing Hub technologies.

Qualcomm’s image processing capabilities, backed by AI, include the tech giant’s Spectra image processor, hardware acceleration for depth sensors, and support for multiple HDR sensors including multi-frame and triple video capture. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 also supports up to 36 MP triple cameras at 30 frames per second (fps), 64+36 MP dual cameras (30fps, zero shutter lag), or up to a 108 MP single camera (30fps, zero shutter lag). 

In addition, up to 200-megapixel photo capture, AI-based facial recognition, and AI for 3A (auto-focus, auto-exposure, and auto-white balance) are supported. Video capture is set at up to 8K HDR. 

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The company also has improved its Elite Gaming features with up to 240 fps on 240Hz displays, upscaling to 8K with Snapdragon Game Super Resolution, and an enhanced Adreno Frame Motion Engine 2.0. In addition, the introduction of the Unreal Engine version 5.2 has brought in hardware-accelerated ray tracing and Lumen global illumination

Qualcomm touted the processor’s security features, too. The new mobile chip makes use of a Trust Management Engine, Qualcomm’s Trusted Execution Environment & Services (TEE), and supports Android’s DICE-based remote key provisioning, which increases the robustness of service APIs. In addition, among other upgrades, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3’s Secure Processing Unit (SPU) is compatible with the latest Android Strongbox SW components.

Regarding connectivity, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 comes with the Snapdragon X75 5G Modem-RF system and 5G compatibility with 10Gbps/3.5Gbps download and upload capacity. The 5G modem is equipped with an integrated AI tensor hardware accelerator for improved speeds and coverage. Wi-Fi 7 also received a mention, at a peak speed of 5.8Gbps. 

“Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 infuses high-performance AI across the entire system to deliver premium-level performance and extraordinary experiences to consumers,” said Chris Patrick, senior vice president and general manager of mobile handsets at Qualcomm. “This platform unlocks a new era of generative AI, enabling users to generate unique content, help with productivity, and other breakthrough use cases.”

Also: Nvidia, Dell, and Qualcomm speed up AI results in latest benchmark tests

Android handsets powered by the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 are expected to be available in the coming weeks. Qualcomm named vendors and brands including ASUS, Honor, OnePlus, OPPO, Sony, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE as potential partners set to use the new SoC in their device lineups. 

In addition to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Qualcomm also announced the Snapdragon X Elite, a PC platform focused on boosting the power and capabilities of artificial intelligence applications, with greater speed and responsiveness. 

Snapdragon Seamless, Qualcomm’s new cross-device system, was also revealed at the event. Designed to break down the barriers between “OEMs, devices, and operating systems,” Seamless will allow consumers to switch between devices and operating systems across PCs, tablets, and mobile devices. Snapdragon Seamless is incorporated in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and Snapdragon X Elite platforms. 

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