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Could the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor become a security nightmare for Android users?

Here’s more about this processor and what security issues to consider if you’re a loyal Android user.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Processor
Image: Qualcomm

Android users may want to read this closely. There’s a new mobile chipset hitting the tech scene that may make your seemingly innocent smartphone a bit of a privacy scare.

Qualcomm recently announced its new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, and it’s set to power the next generation of Android smartphones in coming years. 

Qualcomm typically announces its newest system-on-a-chip this time of year, so it’s no surprise that the tech company finally revealed what will power the latest smartphones. The new processor will likely show up early next year. 

If you’re a loyal Android user, here’s more about this processor and what security issues to consider.

What Is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Processor?

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Processor
Image: Qualcomm

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor is an advanced 5G mobile processor that supports all-day power and fast speeds up to 10 Gbps. It includes leading Wi-Fi 6 and 6E with multi-gig rates and allows multiple devices on one network.

Qualcomm promises some major improvements with the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, including:

  • Better performance
  • Camera technology
  • Security
  • AI capabilities
  • 5G

While security may be improved, there are some privacy concerns. Some experts say the new chipset may present security issues for Android smartphone users.

Potential Privacy and Security Issues With the Processor

Judd Heape, vice president of product management at Qualcomm, was recently quoted saying, “Your phone’s front camera is always securely looking for your face, even if you don’t touch it or raise to wake it.” 

Essentially, Heape says that the front-facing camera on phones equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor will always be on. While some may find this feature to be next level, others are worried it will pose privacy issues. 

Qualcomm sees the feature as the beginning of new use cases, like unlocking your phone without having to pick it up. If you’re making a new recipe and your hands get messy, the always-on feature does come in handy.

However, for the average consumer with a basic sense of security, the idea of your phone’s camera being always-on is quite scary. While it may offer convenience, is it worth compromising your privacy? 

People have valued their privacy for ages and wanted to protect themselves and their families from threats, with security being top of mind for homeowners as early as the 1700s. With smart home security cameras becoming all the more prevalent, you’d think privacy would become even more important.

In addition to using this feature in new cases, Qualcomm also says the always-on camera takes the always-listening microphone a step further. These have been in our smartphones for years, waiting to hear “Hey Siri” or “Hey Google.” 

Keep in mind that this always-on camera is not the first of its kind. Many smart home security systems, such as the Google Nest Hub Max, are programmed to recognize your face when you walk up to it. 

What Could This Mean for Android Users?

google android 11
Image: Google

Much of the debate over the always-on camera will come down to the level of trust Android users have with Qualcomm. Some consumers may not mind the feature and enjoy the convenience factor. Others may feel their privacy is being compromised. 

It’s only a matter of time until other smartphone companies begin implementing some of this new technology, so even if you aren’t an Android user, expect these changes in the future.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at ReHack Magazine with a passion for cybersecurity, AI, and all things tech. Offline, you'll find me cruising the neighborhood on my motorcycle or bingeing the latest true crime documentary.

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