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Qualcomm announces new AI-enhanced mid-range Snapdragon chips

Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1, two new mid-range smartphone processors with flagship features and extra AI smarts.

As is the way with such naming conventions, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 is the more capable of the two, featuring a triple image signal processor (ISP) that enables capture from three cameras at once at “gigapixel speeds”. It also supports shots of up to 108MP and video capture with computational HDR via support for staggered HDR image sensors.

Perhaps the biggest performance boost here is to AI, with Qualcomm’s 7th Gen AI Engine producing a three-fold boost in AI performance compared to previous Snapdragon 6-series chips.

In terms of raw performance, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 receives a 35% boost to graphics rendering and 40% faster processing speeds compared to the Snapdragon 695.

As for the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1, Qualcomm boasts that it’s the first Snapdragon 4-series chip to be built to the 6nm process. This should have significant benefits to battery life in more affordable Android phones. Besides these efficiency gains, the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 brings a more humble 15% faster CPU and a 10% faster GPU than its predecessor.

This more humble chip also sports an AI Engine, which promises to make “on-device experiences more seamless and intuitive”.

In camera terms, you also get a triple ISP and support for 108MP shots, as well as Multi-Frame Noise Reduction.

Both chips support 5G connectivity, as you’d expect, but the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 goes further with mmWave on top of the usual sub-6 GHz support. The faster chip also also supports 2×2 Wi-Fi 6E, whereas the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 only extends to Wi-Fi 5.

Qualcomm expects the first devices running on the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 to hit the market in the first quarter of 2023, while we could see Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 handsets before the end of the year.

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