AV1 is the next-generation video codec developed by the Open Media Alliance. It uses advanced compression technology and royalty-free mode. According to recent reports, Qualcomm’s next-generation flagship processor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, will support AV1 decoding. According to industry sources, Qualcomm plans to add native AV1 decoding to its “upcoming flagship Snapdragon mobile processors,”. The chip’s internal codename is SM8550, which matches the codenames of other Snapdragon 8-series chipsets. SM8450 for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, SM8350 for the Snapdragon 888, and so on.
There are also reports that this chip will launch “as early as the end of the year”. Well, this is the possible “launch date” that we have for now. This is nothing special because it is in line with Qualcomm’s usual release cycle for high-end mobile chips. In addition, there are reports that Qualcomm will launch the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus, codenamed SM8475. However, there is no official launch date for this chip.
AV1 video can already be played on many software-decoded Android devices. However, hardware decoding can significantly improve performance. As early as 2020, MediaTek launched the first chip that supports AV1 hardware decoding – Dimensity 1000. In addition, the Exynos 2200 chipset in the Samsung Galaxy S22 phone also supports AV1 decoding.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be the successor to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. This latter uses a 4nm process technology and works on the new Armv9 architecture. Unlike Dimensity 9000 which uses TSMC 4nm process, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 uses Samsung’s 4nm manufacturing process.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 earlier speculation
Late last year, there were reports that Qualcomm will contract the SD 8 Gen 1 to TSMC. Further speculations claim that the TSMC version of Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will be Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The report claims that the different naming is for easy identification of the Samsung and TSMC versions. However, there is no official indication that this report is true. It is probably just a hoax that will never happen.
The report also claims that the TSMC version will be significantly higher than the Samsung version in terms of number. This may be because TSMC’s 4nm technology is more mature and offers improved energy efficiency. As a reminder, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 offers a powerful Adreno graphics chip, 4x the processing power of the neural engine, the first 18-bit ISP with 3 modules. This chip also supports 5G with the ability to download data over a cellular network at speeds up to 10 Gbps. Nevertheless, this chip still has the heating issue which the next generation may work on.