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The Six Five On the Road with Qualcomm’s Chris Patrick at Snapdragon Summit 2022
by Daniel Newman | November 16, 2022

The Six Five is On The Road at Snapdragon Summit 2022. Hosts Patrick Moorhead and Daniel Newman sit down with Chris Patrick, SVP of Engineering at Qualcomm, for a conversation about some of the announcements coming out of Snapdragon Summit 2022. Their discussion covers:

  • How Snapdragon Gen 2 is defining a new standard for premium mobile
  • Snapdragon Generation 2 versus Gen 1
  • The increase in performance and efficiency as it equates to the user experience
  • Collaboration with OEMs and the expected commercial launch timeline #qualcomm

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Transcript:

Patrick Moorhead: Hi. This is Pat Moorhead, and we are live in Maui at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit. It is incredible to be here. I’m here with my cohost, Daniel Newman. We are struggling here in Maui. It’s tough. This is rough, but somebody had to do it.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. It’s never a big problem for me, and if you ever want to not come along, we can go ahead and Zoom you in. But hey, it’s nice to be here. I always say, the first minute I step outside in Maui, the air hits your face. You’re excited. And of course, we’re excited here, because this week is always a big week for what we love, which is what’s going on at tech at Qualcomm.

Patrick Moorhead: That’s right, and it is the day after the big announcement day, and we are here with Chris Patrick, doing a debrief of the huge announcements. Chris, great to see you.

Chris Patrick: Hey, great seeing you both.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. Maybe you can weigh in on whether we should relocate The Six Five to Maui. I don’t know.

Chris Patrick: I think it makes sense.

Patrick Moorhead: But our customers get our choice, so…

Daniel Newman: He’s in.

Chris Patrick: I think it makes sense. And we need deeper collaboration really, and more discussion, so I think if we’re co-located here…

Patrick Moorhead: Exactly.

Chris Patrick: … it’d be important for me to join you all.

Patrick Moorhead: And maybe on the beach.

Chris Patrick: That might make sense.

Patrick Moorhead: So hey, let’s dive into it. Daniel, you want to kick this off?

Daniel Newman: Hey, we’ve got Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, lot of announcements, a lot of focus on that. Let’s just start there. How is this, all the announcements you made for that driving the future of premium, the premium tier?

Chris Patrick: This is always a big week for us. This is always a big time of year for us. Really, announcing the new Snapdragon 8 for us and really for the whole industry sets the tone really, for Android premium tier for the next year. This is our annual tradition, is launching our new 8 products. And just like the way you use your phone is very diverse, like everybody uses their phone differently, it’s part of your everyday life, but again, different ways for different users, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has incredible upgrades, really across the board for each of those different types of users.

If you’re a user that really is a business user, you’re really focused primarily on using it for email and enterprise applications and things like that, we have big improvements in security, big improvements in wifi connectivity, big improvements in 5G connectivity. If you’re a gamer, that’s really what you use your device for, we have huge improvements now on gaming, immersive features that’ll give you just, ray tracing in particular, that are going to give you effects that really blow you away, all in much better performance, much better power envelope so you can do that gaming use case at higher frames per second for longer.

If you’re somebody who uses your camera primarily, you’re going to see some incredible improvements here on camera. We’ve combined camera and AI together in something we call the cognitive ISP, which really, it means that your camera now can process the environment around you, decompose in real time the environment into different structures and different layers, and then process it differently at the pixel level using AI. Some of the effects you’re going to see from your camera are going to be incredible. Anyway, we’re incredibly excited about the 8 Gen 2, and yeah, we’re looking forward to all the devices that will launch. `

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. You’ve been really successful with your premium Android strategy, and I forget which investor day you brought up, or maybe it was last year here, where it said, “Listen, this is the flag we’re planting and this is where we want to do well.” And then I saw a lot of really good vendors increase their mix with you. It was really awesome. My favorite, I know we all have our favorites, but I have every version of the Fold, the Samsung Galaxy Fold that’s ever been made. And one of the things I’m loving, and we’re not prenouncing here, but I am looking forward to seeing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in new devices.

Let’s sharpen this point here. What are the biggest differences between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and the Gen 2? I know everybody doesn’t upgrade every year like I do, but some people do. It’s usually people who might have a two-year-old phone. What can they look forward to on 1 versus 2?

Chris Patrick: Okay. Great question, and the Fold is a great device. That happens to be my personal device at the moment as well.

Patrick Moorhead: There we go.

Chris Patrick: Okay. Yeah, the Gen 1 versus the Gen 2, as I said, big improvements on the experiences. Again, better camera, better underlying security, better connectivity, AI improvements throughout, some really exciting changes, but there’s also just the raw horsepower and the raw power efficiency of the solution. On the CPU, you expect to see especially multithreading applications. We have a new micro architecture on the CPUs, a new way of combining those CPUs, so we have a higher performance cluster of CPUs. You’ll see some big improvements there for a lot of different use cases, so that really is going to be impressive.

That’s going to be a 35% improvement in multithreading performance, as well as a 40% improvement in power efficiency. Then the GPU, much more capable, much more powerful GPU. Again, for gaming, for all those kinds of use cases, anything that uses the GPU, you’ll see significant improvement, both in performance and power. And then AI, I mentioned a couple times, but AI is one of the things we’ve really focused on in this generation of the chip set. For example, natural language processing, which is when literally, you want to talk to your phone, have your phone interpret your speech, or even the AI engine has to interpret passages and try to understand context in text. That’s called natural language processing.

In those kinds of use cases, you’ll see four times the performance, four times the performance along with 60% better power efficiency. So we think this is really going to unlock all the creativity in the whole industry with better peak performance, as well as better power efficiency. That combination, we think is going to produce some pretty amazing experiences in devices like the Fold and many others.

Patrick Moorhead: I’m excited.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, it’s really interesting, though. It sounds like we’re all Fold users, by the way, which is cool. I still just get a kick out of doing that unfold, fold, fold.

Chris Patrick: Yeah. Every time you do it, basically his turn, right?

Daniel Newman: You’re just blown away about…

Chris Patrick: Exactly.

Daniel Newman: That’s right.

Patrick Moorhead: Everybody looks at it.

Daniel Newman: Yeah.

Chris Patrick: That’s right.

Patrick Moorhead: “Tell me, what planet are you from? What device is this?”

Daniel Newman: Totally.

Patrick Moorhead: “Is it a tablet? Is it a phone?” Yes, yes.

Daniel Newman: Well, you know what? When I’m on a plane, it’s the best, because it’s the perfect compromise when you’re watching a movie. Graphics look great. Pat hit you up with the trick question, right? Gen 1 versus Gen 2. You had your matrix memorized. But I think in the end, when people end up picking, “Hey, we’re going to go upgrade,” and every phone manufacturer wants to shorten the cycle, the challenge is that you’ve made such good devices. 8 1, Gen 1 was really good, and it’s like, “Well, do I need to upgrade?” You kind of gave the 1 versus 2, but let’s put that question in a different context.

I’m a user, and I just went to the store and I upgraded to this newest device. I’ve now got 8 Gen 2. This better power, better performance, what does this actually mean for someone? When they’re playing a game, is it noticeable? Do you think you can give examples where someone can really notice that, “Hey, I needed to upgrade, because this one year later, it is better.”

Chris Patrick: Sure. Well, first of all, we want anybody that buys a Snapdragon 8, even if it’s last year’s Snapdragon 8, we want them to know right away this is a premium device so they don’t need to worry that it’s not going to be a good experience. You buy a Snapdragon 8, even last year’s, it’s going to be a good experience. That’s the first. Honestly, I don’t mind. If they want to buy last year’s, no problem. But we think, again, there’s going to be pretty compelling differences even at the user level. Again, let’s pick gaming for a second.

Gaming, as everybody knows from the PC side of gaming, it’s a place where if you give users 20% more, they’ll take 20% more. Everybody’s hungry for better response time. Over the connectivity engine, for example, over the FastConnect 7800, we have much faster both throughput and latency. So that means if you’re playing games over wifi or over 5G, you’re going to see better response time. That means you shoot the bad guy and you have a little bit quicker response time. People do…

Patrick Moorhead: Maybe even you could be good at video games with Gen 2.

Daniel Newman: Nope.

Patrick Moorhead: Okay.

Daniel Newman: No skills.

Chris Patrick: And you’ll see better frame rate, better sustained frame rate, even if you’re playing for 20 minutes. You’re on that plane ride you were mentioning and you’re gaming on the plane, you’ll see better frame rate, absolutely will have an impact. We can also take the improved performance and the improved power efficiency and use that to add effects on top of things. One of the things we’re going to pioneer on this platform is ray tracing. What that is, is again, if you’ve seen it on consoles, you’ve seen it on PCs, it’s pretty spectacular. It means you can see real reflections, real light propagation effects on your Fold or another type of device.

Patrick Moorhead: Well, even extending to your living room TV.

Chris Patrick: Yeah, that’s right.

Patrick Moorhead: A lot of people do that now, whether it’s wirelessly or through a small cable.

Chris Patrick: That’s right.

Patrick Moorhead: The ability to really see ray tracing, to me, would make a more demonstrable experience on a larger display, I think. The Fold, it would be great, but even bigger, because the lighting is so much better and the lighting is so much more realistic.

Chris Patrick: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. The detail, certainly on bigger screens, the detail is more evident. But as you’ll see some demos of ray tracing at the show and as we shared yesterday, you can see some pretty spectacular effects even on a smaller screen, so we’re very excited.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. How about on the camera side? It seems like there’s this insatiable thirst for camera improvements no matter what they are.

Chris Patrick: That’s right.

Patrick Moorhead: And everybody’s one-upping each other; the ability to remove images in the background, the ability to have a much better digital zoom so you don’t have to have a huge physical zoom, getting closer to that DSLR type of experience. How about in the photography experience?

Chris Patrick: No, absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. I think just like gaming, it’s one of those places where you give people 10% more, they will take 10% more and still want more. On imaging, I think we all know we could walk outside and look at the beautiful Maui weather. As the sun sets, there’s light in the background, but shadows and things like that. Your brain can process everything and understand the context. That’s really what we emphasize here on the Gen 2 and we’re going to keep working on, is really providing the full dynamic range experience that, again, you capture with your eye.

Patrick Moorhead: Yes.

Chris Patrick: Full ability to go from very brights to very darks, the ability to understand context. AI here is going to help our camera become, again, the cognitive ISP, as we call it, which is really understand context and then adapt. For instance, the green leaf is processed a little bit differently in real time. It’s processed a little bit differently than the ocean. It’s processed a little bit differently than skin tone. All those kinds of things are going to be done in real time as the pixels move through the system, so you’re going to see some pretty spectacular effects on the 8 Gen 2.

And then when you apply that to things like upscaling, you mentioned zoom, digital zoom, all those things, all those are things that depend on context. And so having a camera supplemented by AI that’s able to understand the context and apply it, again, you’ll see some pretty spectacular things.

Patrick Moorhead: Hm. I’m wondering how much I can get now on the used market for my Gen 1, because I really want that Gen 2. He’s gotten me all excited here. I know I saw all the videos yesterday, but you’ve spun me up again. How do we get one? What partners? Who signed up? When will devices be available? Because I want it, and I want it now.

Chris Patrick: All right. You have it soon. That’s the answer.

Patrick Moorhead: He knows.

Daniel Newman: He’s faking it.

Chris Patrick: Voracious.

Patrick Moorhead: He knows people.

Chris Patrick: Listen, honestly, we’re very happy with the Gen 1. The Gen 1, we had over 200 different models.

Patrick Moorhead: I’m done. Gen 1, I’m done with it. I want Gen 2.

Chris Patrick: You’re done with the Gen 1? You want the Gen 2? I understand. I’m going to get it for you. We have already 15 different OEMs signed up on the Gen 2. So yeah, you’ll see devices launching very soon.

Patrick Moorhead: I couldn’t imagine who they might be. Hm.

Chris Patrick: Many names you might know. Really, the privilege we’ve had actually over the last few years is Qualcomm and Snapdragon 8 really has become synonymous with Android premium, with Android flagships. So really, if you’re somebody that’s building a flagship device, you’re probably working with Qualcomm.

Patrick Moorhead: Yes. Thankfully, because that is my device. I carry multiple phones, and I’ve got the smallest phone, I can get to do messaging with my family. But my real phone that I do real stuff on is a premium Android phone that, of course, is based on Snapdragon. Great stuff.

Chris Patrick: That’s the right choice.

Patrick Moorhead: I’m excited.

Chris Patrick: That’s the right choice.

Daniel Newman: Well, I think that’s a great way to finish up for Chris here. You just give him a little extra advert.

Patrick Moorhead: Well, doesn’t he actually hand us one on the way out? Isn’t that how this works?

Daniel Newman: That’s typically how these events work.

Patrick Moorhead: Oprah? Is that Oprah? Okay.

Daniel Newman: Well, Chris, Oprah.

Patrick Moorhead: Okay.

Daniel Newman: It’s the same thing.

Patrick Moorhead: All right. All right.

Chris Patrick: Yeah, you should definitely check under your seat.

Daniel Newman: But in all serious, to summarize, it sounds to me like a lot of very tangible improvements that people are going to be able to notice. At the same time, I do like the fact that you continue to lean in and support the predecessors, because people made big investments in recent times. Nothing stings more than you’d buy the really expensive and just find out that there’s better. But that’s been the thing, is the continuous improvement has been meaningful. But people even using 1 and 2 and 3 Generation old Snapdragon devices are still getting really good premium-tier performance.

Chris Patrick: That’s right.

Daniel Newman: That’s what we’ve liked about it. That’s at least what I think both of us in our content and different tracking of it is, hey, whether you have a ’20, a ’21, a ’22 of the Samsung line, for instance, you’re still getting really good performance. But of course, with each generation, you give the buyers something that they want. I love what you’re doing with AI. I love what you’re doing with ray tracing. You’re really making a compelling premium-tier model that people can be excited about. Chris Patrick…

Chris Patrick: Thank you. Thank you. We think so.

Daniel Newman: Thanks so much.

Chris Patrick: I know. Just one more point. I think you talked about things that users will notice. One of the things users can trust in Qualcomm is we’re also investing underneath that in things that they don’t notice, in making sure the phone is as secure as possible, that every image, every piece of software written is secure, resistant to hacking, and we make sure that underneath that infrastructure is as pristine as possible. Again, users can buy a Snapdragon 8 device and know it’s protected, it’s secure, it’s a premium device, and it’s a device they can trust. We’re proud of it.

Patrick Moorhead: No, I love it. I love it. And you tend to actually deliver what you say you’re going to deliver.

Chris Patrick: That’s right.

Patrick Moorhead: As opposed to slideware. I track the entire industry, and there’s a lot of cash checks written but not cashed. They’re not actually coming true. So I do appreciate that we can bank on what you do. I love even the fingerprint.

Chris Patrick: That’s right.

Patrick Moorhead: I love that fricking fingerprint. It’s like boom, boom. I know. I’m excited. I get giddy. Okay, I’m going to take us out of here, Daniel.

Daniel Newman: Go.

Patrick Moorhead: Chris, just want to thank you for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. Hope to have you on again some time.

Chris Patrick: Absolutely, and always great to see you guys. I’m sorry I don’t have a device for you, but I’m going to…

Patrick Moorhead: That’s okay. Maybe next time. I’m first on the list, I’m sure.

Chris Patrick: Absolutely.

Patrick Moorhead: This is Pat Moorhead and Daniel Newman with The Six Five here live at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit. We’re glad you tuned in. If you like what you heard, hit that subscribe button. And if you want to have comments for Daniel and I, everybody’s out there. We’re still on Twitter and of course, LinkedIn. Tell us what you like. Tell us what you want to see next time. Have a good morning, afternoon, evening. Wherever you are on the planet, have a great one.

About the Author

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio