Qualcomm's next high-end chip will be the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

The Snapdragon line of processors is getting a rebrand alongside a power boost.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G, mobile networks, wireless carriers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, streaming platforms, mobile and console gaming,
Eli Blumenthal
3 min read

Qualcomm's next-generation Snapdragon processors will sport a new name. 


Qualcomm's next-generation line of mobile processors will get more than just a few performance improvements. They will also be sporting a new naming strategy. On Tuesday at its annual Snapdragon Summit, the chip giant announced a rebrand for its mobile processors starting with its flagship Snapdragon 8-series. 

As part of the new scheme, Qualcomm's high-end chip, which is expected to debut next year in phones, will be called the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Since 2012 the company has traditionally used three digits to signify its processor upgrades, with last year's model known as the Snapdragon 888. With those digits running out, the company has decided to hit the reset button and adopt the new moniker. 

In the US, Qualcomm's processors have powered a number of high-end devices from manufacturers including Samsung and OnePlus . Rumored devices such as the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S22 and recently leaked OnePlus 10 Pro are expected to run on the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 platform when they are released in 2022. 

Although the 8 Gen 1 is the first to get the rebrand, Qualcomm will be extending the naming to its other lines of processors including the 7-series and 6-series in the midrange market as well as the more budget-focused 4-series. 

A peek at some performance improvements


Beyond the new name, Qualcomm also shared some of the first details for what its next-generation processor will be able to support. A new image signal processor will be capable of capturing video in 8K with HDR at 30 frames per second. The company says that a new "mega night mode" will capture 30 images and then merge "the best parts" to create "brighter photos in dark conditions" while allowing the camera to focus on "tiny details without any blurring."

For graphics and gaming, the company says its new Adreno GPU will render graphics 30% faster and improve power efficiency by 25% compared to the Snapdragon 888. 

When paired with its previously announced X65 modem, Qualcomm says devices will be capable of downloading data at up to 10Gbps over 5G . The Snapdragon 888 and X60 modem was capable of downloading data over 5G at 7.5Gbps. 

Qualcomm says the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 series will be capable of clock speeds of up to 3.0GHz and be manufactured on a 4-nanometer node, an improvement from last year's 888 which had a top clock speed of up to 2.84GHz and was built on a 5-nanometer node. (The company's Snapdragon 888 Plus chip, which was released this year as well, can reach up to 3.0 GHz clock speeds and is built on a 5-nanometer node.)

While Tuesday's news isn't radical, the chipmaker has recently started hinting at some of the bigger upgrades that are in the works particularly for its Snapdragon chips used in PCs. Earlier this month Qualcomm President and CEO Cristiano Amon teased that a more significant improvement to its processors will arrive in 2023 when products running on new chips developed in part by its acquisition of Nuvia, a two-year-old startup previously run by former Apple executives, begin to hit the market.

Qualcomm completed its $1.4 billion purchase of Nuvia in March.