Qualcomm on Tuesday unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 system-on-chip (SoC) that we expected from the chipmaker. Qualcomm teased a major rebrand for the Snapdragon processors a few days ago, so the name change wasn’t surprising. Not to mention that plenty of rumors already referred to the Snapdragon 898 as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. That’s the chip that will power many iPhone 13 rivals next year, including the Galaxy S22 series and the OnePlus 10 Pro. But Android fans might already suspect that the first phone to run on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip will come from a different vendor. That’s the Xiaomi 12 flagship that the Chinese smartphone maker is already teasing ahead of its launch event.
Xiaomi took advantage of Huawei’s demise to eat up plenty of market share in the past few years. The company does make some impressive hardware, including plenty of high-end iPhone and Galaxy rivals. Xiaomi hurrying to release a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 device before anyone else is not surprising. The Chinese handset maker has done the same thing before.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 arrived in late December 2020 and was the first Android smartphone to run on the Snapdragon 888 chip. That’s the SoC that powers most 2021 Android flagships, including the Galaxy S21 series and the OnePlus 9 handsets.
— Xiaomi (@Xiaomi) December 1, 2021
Xiaomi 12 launch event
Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 during its Snapdragon Summit event earlier this week. But that’s not the place where we’d expect to see hardware announcements from its partners. And indeed, Xiaomi did not host a launch for the Xiaomi 12 to coincide with Qualcomm’s event.
But Xiaomi took to Twitter to post a video that shows the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 assembly process for the Xiaomi 12 series. The clip teases that the Xiaomi 12 phones are coming soon without revealing a launch date. Given Xiaomi’s history, we’d expect to see the Xiaomi 12 series before December ends.
The Xiaomi 12 series should include at least three models. The Xiaomi 12 will be the cheapest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 smartphone from the company. But we expect to see a Xiaomi 12 Pro and an over-the-top Xiaomi 12 Ultra as well. Last year’s Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra arrived three months after the regular Mi 11 and Mi 11 Pro.
We’ll have to wait for the Xiaomi 12 launch event to learn the phone’s official specs and features. But since the handsets will feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, we already have an idea of what they’ll offer in terms of performance.
The new chip features Arm’s new Cortex-X2 performance core, just like the Dimensity 9000. Like the MediaTek chip, the new Snapdragon is built on the new 4nm process. The new Adreno GPU will deliver 30% speed gains, and it’ll be 25% more efficient than the predecessor.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 specs
The Xiaomi 12 phones will feature support for up to 10Gbps 5G download speeds. Upload speeds go up to 3.5Gbps, where supported. However, these are theoretical speeds that you’re not likely to experience in real-world scenarios. As for Wi-Fi, the new SoC supports both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E speeds.
The Xiaomi 12 camera will also get several camera improvements that depend on the SoC’s ISP. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the world’s first SoC to support 18-bit image processing and 8K HDR10+ video capture. The new ISP delivers with a new Bokeh Engine that brings blur effects to videos.
When it comes to low-light photography, the new chip can capture 30 images in night mode and combine their best parts into a single image.
The new SoC also improves artificial intelligence features thanks to the 7th-gen Qualcomm AI Engine. The chip supports 2x faster tensor acceleration and 2x larger shared memory than the Snapdragon 888.
Finally, the Xiaomi 12 will be even more secure thanks to the chip that Qualcomm just launched. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 delivers a new Trust Management Engine that improves security. Furthermore, the new SoC supports Android Ready SE, which allows a phone to store digital car keys and driver’s licenses where available. There’s also iSIM support that would render physical SIMs useless.
Xiaomi could very well reference some of these features during the Xiaomi 12’s imminent launch event. But it’ll likely stress on other innovations of its own, like fast wired and wireless charging and camera lens technology.