We're expecting to see many a 2022 Android flagship phone arrive running the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor from Qualcomm, but a new leak suggests that the improved Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus variant might be appearing on the scene sooner than was originally thought.
According to Mobile Chip Expert on Chinese social media site Weibo (via Notebookcheck), Qualcomm is keen to accelerate its release cycle this year, and we could be seeing Android phones running the upgraded chipset sooner rather than later.
Apparently well-known Taiwanese chip maker TSMC is under orders to get the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus out as quickly as possible. We were expecting it in the second half of the year, but if this new information is accurate then it might be unveiled – and ready to go in devices – earlier than that.
Samsung is the company that was charged with manufacturing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which has already shown up in phones such as the Galaxy S22 series (in the US at least). It's also going to be powering the OnePlus 10.
It's unlikely that there's going to be a huge jump in performance with the Plus version of this CPU though. We haven't heard any details in terms of its specs, but it'll use the same 4 nanometer architecture as the original Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 does.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus that we saw a lot of last year improved raw speeds by 5% and AI processing by 20% over the Snapdragon 888 that came before it, so we could be looking at a similar sort of performance upgrade this time around as well.
Analysis: the need for speed
By all accounts the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is a fine mobile processor – it's 20% faster overall than the Snapdragon 888 that came before it, while also reducing power draw by 30% so smartphones fitted with it last longer between charges.
The smartphone industry never stands still though. We've seen reports this weekend of the A15 Bionic chip inside the latest iPhone 13 handsets beating the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 inside the Galaxy S22 series quite comfortably in terms of benchmarking tests.
Qualcomm won't be pleased about that – with the Google Pixel 6 using Google's own Tensor chip rather than anything made by Qualcomm, and MediaTek putting out some promising mobile CPUs of its own, the pressure is on for Qualcomm to keep delivering.
We'll have to wait and see just how much of an improvement the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus brings with it when it does arrive on the market – and we will of course bring you all the news and specs about the chipset as soon as it's made official.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.