Snapdragon is everywhere, it is a platform and an ecology

2022 is a year when China's new energy vehicles are making great strides. There is a small episode in this historic turning point.

In July this year, Jikr Auto announced that all Jikr 001 users can upgrade the new smart cockpit equipped with Snapdragon 8155 (the third-generation Snapdragon cockpit flagship platform) for free. Word of mouth reversed.

Knowing mistakes and being able to correct them is an attitude, and the flagship chip is sincerity.

We always talk about the term "megatrend". From a macro perspective, the trend of new energy vehicles is irreversible; similarly, there are wireless audio equipment; intelligent and diversified portable devices; as more than ten Years ago, there was a “megatrend” from feature phones to smartphones.

But from a close perspective, the "megatrend" is not a solo dominated by a certain technology, but a symphony of various technologies reflecting each other. The episode mentioned at the beginning is also in it. The new energy of the car is not only the power change, but also the intelligence. Here, a flagship car machine chip is very important.

When the Snapdragon gets in the car, car owners gradually understand the value of the Snapdragon flagship car chip. In fact, it is the epitome of Snapdragon not limited to mobile phone SoCs, but gradually appearing in computers, smart watches, cars, XR devices, routers and other devices. Not just Snapdragon Inside, but Snapdragon Everywhere.

Snapdragon on mobile phones, the same core position, changing technology trends

As the device that can most change the living habits of the public in the past ten years, many people may feel that the revolution of smartphones has entered the final stage.

But transistors never sleep.

At the 2022 Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm Technologies launched a series of platforms, among which the highlight on the first day was naturally the new flagship mobile platform-the second-generation Snapdragon 8.

In the past few years, the smartphone industry has been changing, but the only thing that remains the same is the binding between the Android flagship and the Snapdragon 8 series. The core number war, graphics performance hegemony, the evolution from 4G to 5G, AI from paper to various applications, single camera to full-focus four-camera, casual games to host-level masterpieces, we have witnessed another Snapdragon Everywhere, The Snapdragon mobile platform underpins every aspect of the phone.

The second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform naturally follows this main line and has made new progress.

The improvement of connection performance and AI performance is naturally needless to say. The Snapdragon X70 5G modem and RF system is also coupled with AI technology this time. Based on the integrated 5G AI processor, the 5G experience is refreshed again. Of course, the network coverage, low Latency and excellent energy efficiency are also what they pursue.

The feature that Chinese consumers like more is the 5G+5G/4G dual-card dual-pass function, which can play the powerful functions and flexibility of two 5G SIM cards at the same time.

In addition, the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform also uses the Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 connection system, which supports more advanced Wi-Fi 7 and dual Bluetooth connections, with increased speed and reduced latency.

Thanks to the upgraded Qualcomm Hexagon processor, the AI ​​performance of the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform in some scenarios has increased by more than 4 times compared with the previous generation, and the energy efficiency has increased by 60%. How to improve performance, if you don't say it, it will be difficult for consumers to know what AI is doing.

So we might as well give an example, what the AI ​​​​of the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform can do.

For example, in the past, when we talked to voice assistants, we often needed to be connected to the Internet, because although the mouth and ears of voice assistants grew on the mobile phone, their brains were actually in the cloud. However, because the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform has become smarter, mobile phones Not only can you hear what the user is saying, but you can also understand it, so in the future, even if the mobile phone is not connected to the Internet, the mobile phone can also carry out conversations and translations in an offline state.

After Qualcomm added two AI co-processing units and a DSP (Digital Signal Processor) to the sensor hub of the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform, the existing "always-awareness" of the Qualcomm sensor hub became stronger. The voice assistant is on standby at all times, and the camera can keep its eyes open to scan codes on the screen; the front camera can be transformed into a "privacy guard", which can automatically hide notifications when it sees strangers behind the user…

The computational photography concept that has been popular in recent years is actually a kind of AI. The second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform brings a new "cognitive ISP". The physical connection of "Hexagon direct connection" creates a direct channel between the two, making the entire shooting and processing process more concentrated and efficient. Real-time semantic segmentation realizes automatic enhancement of photos and videos, and the use of AI neural network allows the camera to perceive human Faces, facial features, hair, clothing, skies, etc., are independently optimized.

Many people are often asked by the photographer to take off their glasses because of the reflection of the glasses lens when taking ID photos, but the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform can be optimized for details similar to "lens reflection".

▲ Features of the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform

In the past, we were more concerned about the performance increase of the CPU and GPU of the Snapdragon mobile platform, and how much faster the network connection speed was. Now we also care about specific scenarios and what the Snapdragon mobile platform can do. However, compared with the performance network speed that can be changed through data feedback, scene optimization is diverse, and the relationship between hardware and software is also closer.

Ray tracing technology is an important support for making the picture quality of game masterpieces approach to reality in recent years, and mobile games have not been absent from this picture quality evolution.

▲ The light-chasing characteristics of Xiaolong

At the 2022 Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm Technologies and Netease Games Leihuo Business Group jointly announced that based on the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform, the two parties will use the mobile game "Naishuihan" to demonstrate the real-time light-tracing feature based on hardware acceleration, giving the mobile game The industry has set a benchmark for image quality. The basis is naturally the 25% performance improvement and 45% energy efficiency improvement achieved by the Adreno GPU in the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform.

▲The mobile game screen of "Naishuihan"

Finally, with the support of Snapdragon’s traditional strong graphics performance and hardware-accelerated light-chasing features, the mobile game “Naishuihan” can present realistic reflections, soft shadows, detailed refraction and lighting effects in the game screen, allowing players to obtain The lifelike look and feel enhances the immersion and realism of the game.

▲ Ray tracing on/off effect

Therefore, Zou Jiaxuan, senior director of Netease and producer of Nishuihan mobile game, said at the summit:

Light tracing is a technology that achieves rendering effects by tracing the propagation of each ray. Through light tracing, the light and shadow effects closest to the real world can be obtained. However, since this technology requires enormous computing power support, in-depth support must be provided from the hardware level. Industry-leading graphics performance is an important feature of the Nishuihan game brand. We have always been eager to make epoch-making game graphics on mobile phones. This time, through technical cooperation with Qualcomm, relying on the support of the powerful performance of the second-generation Snapdragon 8, we have truly implemented ray tracing on the mobile platform, which is a significant improvement to the screen of mobile games.

In the past, software and hardware upgrades were often asynchronous. Either the hardware had excess performance, and the software caught up later, eating up performance; or the software forced users to upgrade the hardware. The cooperation between NetEase and Qualcomm in the mobile game "Naishuihan" has brought the upgrade of software and hardware into sync.

A similar collaboration also took place between Qualcomm and Adobe, but on another Snapdragon platform.

From mobile phones, to virtual reality, to augmented reality

Although the shipment volume is not as large as that of mobile phones, the market structure of VR glasses is actually similar to that of mobile phones: most flagship products use Snapdragon flagship chips. Whether it is Meta, Pico or Qiyu, the current high-end VR glasses are basically based on the Snapdragon XR2 platform.

Compared with VR devices, AR glasses have higher requirements for portability, which also makes its chip platform take into account size and power consumption on the basis of performance.

Therefore, the first-generation Snapdragon AR2 platform came to revolutionize the AR glasses industry.

▲ Features of the first-generation Snapdragon AR2 platform

Unlike the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform used on mobile phones, the first-generation Snapdragon AR2 platform uses a multi-chip distributed processing architecture. Compared with the wireless AR smart glasses reference design equipped with the Snapdragon XR2 platform , The PCB area of ​​the main processor of the Snapdragon AR2 platform in AR glasses is reduced by 40%. At the same time, the overall AI performance of the platform is increased by 2.5 times, and the power consumption is reduced by 50%. Ultimately, it can support AR glasses to achieve a power consumption of less than 1W.

The reason why the multi-chip distributed architecture is adopted is to achieve a more uniform weight of the AR glasses and reduce the width of the left and right temples. The AR processor, AR co-processor and connection platform can dynamically allocate delay-sensitive perception data processing directly For glasses terminals, offload more complex data processing requirements to smartphones, PCs or other compatible host terminals equipped with the Snapdragon platform.

In Qualcomm's view, AR glasses are an intermediate device for users to connect the real world and the metaverse. Therefore, the design idea of ​​the first-generation Snapdragon AR2 platform is quite different from that of the mobile phone platform, so it also has many special features. For example, it supports up to nine parallel cameras for user and environment understanding. Its enhanced perception capabilities include a dedicated hardware acceleration engine that improves user motion tracking and positioning, AI accelerators to reduce latency for high-precision input interactions such as gesture tracking or six degrees of freedom (6DoF), and heavyweights to support a smoother visual experience. projection engine.

The AR coprocessor aggregates camera and sensor data and supports eye-tracking and iris authentication for visually focused rendering, enabling workload optimization of only what the user is looking at to help reduce power consumption.

The same Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 connection system as the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform can make the delay between AR glasses and smartphones or host terminals less than 2 milliseconds.

▲ Snapdragon Spaces developer platform and its partners

In order to help developers develop head-mounted AR applications on the new platform, Qualcomm has also created an end-to-end solution covering hardware, a full set of perception technologies and software tools. Now the Snapdragon AR2 platform and the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform are now optimized to support the Snapdragon Spaces developer platform.

Developers use Snapdragon Spaces for application development

The Adobe mentioned earlier is working with Qualcomm on the workflow of XR creation and use.

▲ Snapdragon Spaces capability

Extending Adobe's 3D and immersive media creation tools from smartphones and PCs to XR products with Snapdragon Spaces helps creators create spatially aware immersive storytelling experiences in headsets and devices, enabling the ultimate Users can view and interact with Adobe 3D and immersive media content in greater depth. This work includes supporting high-performance 3D workflows in the USD format on a wide range of Android devices for Snapdragon Spaces powered XR experiences.

If the cooperation between Qualcomm and NetEase is technology-enabled entertainment, then the cooperation between Qualcomm and Adobe is technology-enabled creation. The ultimate goal is to make the devices equipped with the Snapdragon platform not only have excellent hardware, but also make these devices have good content and content. Good tools, and these content and tools can be user-centered and run across terminals.

Snapdragon Everywhere is actually an ecosystem

In the beginning, true wireless earphones won with convenience, but at the expense of sound quality, high latency and short battery life. If you look at the current true wireless headphones, you will find that although the shape has not changed much, the inside has changed: spatial audio, active noise reduction, lossless transmission and ultra-low latency have all come to true wireless headphones.

Naturally, there is also the existence of Snapdragon here, so we have seen the launch of the second-generation Qualcomm S5 audio platform and the second-generation Qualcomm S3 audio platform. They are also optimized for the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform. Headphone terminal manufacturers can Research and develop on the platform, get dynamic head tracking support for spatial audio, lossless music streaming, and low latency of 48 milliseconds between mobile phone and earbuds, etc.

So far, a digital enthusiast may have discovered that Snapdragon is everywhere in the devices around him, such as large cars, medium-sized notebooks and tablets, small AR/VR glasses, mobile phones, smaller watches and earphones. Snapdragon provides connectivity and computing power.

Moreover, cooperation among various Snapdragon devices has also begun. Qualcomm not only allows Snapdragon to exert its strength in hardware, but also goes a step further, optimizing and cooperating with scenarios and applications.

It seems that Snapdragon exists on the hardware, and it also helps the software to get a better experience. It is this ubiquitous interweaving of software and hardware that constitutes an ecosystem belonging to Snapdragon.

For example, based on the second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform, mobile phone manufacturers can use it as a basis to create video flagships, high-end gaming phones, folding screen phones, and even business phones that focus on privacy and security.

In fact, other Snapdragon platforms are also in the same situation. The latest first-generation Snapdragon AR2 platform has attracted manufacturers such as Lenovo, LG, Nreal, OPPO, Pico, QONOQ, Rokid, Sharp, TCL, Vuzix and Xiaomi for product development. In the coming time, we will see all kinds of Snapdragon AR glasses appearing.

It seems that Snapdragon is a seed, but in fact Snapdragon is more like soil. On it, there are various software and hardware, and users counted in billions.

Interestingly, manufacturers whose main business was once mobile phones are more inclined to choose the Snapdragon platform for other categories when developing their own hardware ecosystem.

From this point of view, the Xiaolong ecology is also an underlying ecological circle that can nourish all kinds of ecology. This ecological circle is not static, but has the ability to survive by natural selection of the fittest. That is to say, there is a driving " The ability to follow the "big trend" instead of being left behind by the "big trend".

In the plastic greenhouse of fate, every cabbage that has been sprayed with too many pesticides once had a dream of becoming a pollution-free organic vegetable.

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