Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 – Qualcomm’s new top-of-the-line mobile chip designed for the next wave of flagship Android smartphones – debuted at Qualcomm’s annual summit on November 15, showcasing a host of impressive new technologies.
While some attention-grabbing AI and camera features punctuated the chipset unveiling, one more noteworthy update focused on mobile gaming; with the upcoming significant improvement in visual quality; headed by the addition of hardware-assisted ray tracing.
In short, ray tracing increases the physical accuracy of light behavior in the game world. While resource-intensive, it promises a significant leap in graphical fidelity by improving elements such as reflections, global illumination, shadows, and ambient occlusion, resulting in more realistic and immersive visuals.
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This technology, once reserved for the best graphics cards on the market, was then brought to the latest gaming consoles and has now found a home on mobile devices.
In fact, Samsung’s Exynos 2200 – introduced in early 2022 – was the first mobile chip to support the technology, but less than a year later, Qualcomm not only implemented ray tracing to catch up, it attracted a number of partners committed to capitalizing on the availability of this new graphics enhancement.
Behemoth publishers such as Tencent are adding credibility to the technology’s wider adoption and success on mobile devices, while Qualcomm already has a number of hardware partners looking to leverage ray tracing in their own way.
Brands such as Asus, Black Shark, OnePlus, Samsung, Sony and Xiaomi received mention, but it was Oppo that was eager to actively demonstrate its commitment to 8th Gen 2 and hardware-assisted ray tracing during the first day of the rush.
Oppo VP and CPO Pete Lau appeared in a video during the presentation clearly expressing his excitement about the “next level of gaming” the 8 Gen 2 promises to deliver, but the company didn’t stop there by hiring its chief graphics product manager, Jane Tian, on stage.
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She went into more detail about the results that Oppo is already seeing through continuous ray tracing performance testing on the 8th Gen 2, which, compared to previous software-only ray tracing, is reportedly five times more efficient, with 90% less CPU load.
The company’s history with mobile ray tracing has led it to create an open source mobile ray tracing development kit – dubbed the PhysRay SDK – which should help developers with things like software and hardware compatibility and ray tracing optimization between different setups devices.
The mobile ray tracing demonstrations shown on stage highlighted the benefits the technology is expected to bring to mobile graphics, but the results speak for themselves, leaving us to wonder how soon after the first 8th Gen 2 phones hit the market, we’ll see GPU-enabled games. Chipset Adreno and its new star feature.
Oppo is understandably on the list of companies committed to introducing 8 Gen 2 powered devices in the near future, and that it will pack in whatever the next entry in the Find X flagship phone series is (our money is on Oppo Find X6).
In the meantime, be sure to check out our roundup of the best gaming phones currently available, even if you just want to know which brands to look out for when their 8 Gen 2 devices come out.