Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 888 5G chipset for next-gen flagship devices

A look at Day-1 announcement at Snapdragon Summit 2020

by: - Last updated on: December 1st, 2020

Qualcomm’s annual Tech Summit Digital kicked off today. Like every year, it constitutes keynotes that span over two days and offer insights into the latest technological updates. And of course, includes the reveal of the latest Qualcomm chipset — ones that power the upcoming Android smartphones next year. However, unlike the previous year where Qualcomm announced two chipsets at the summit, this time around, there is only one. Called Snapdragon 888, the latest offering from Qualcomm is a 5G-enabled chipset, set to power the premium flagship smartphones next year. Here’s what we know about the latest Qualcomm chipset.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Starting with the name itself, the Snapdragon 888 is a successor to the Snapdragon 865, which is the current top-of-the-line chipset powering a majority of flagship devices out there, and a successor to the Snapdragon 855. And therefore, going by Qualcomm’s naming trend for the past few years, one expected the successor to the Snapdragon 865 to be called SD875. However, Qualcomm seems to have approached the naming with a different headspace this time around. And so we have the Snapdragon 888.

Qualcomm says it builds on its foundational technologies for smartphones first, and then extends that and puts them into use across different segments like always-connected PCs, extended reality (XR) devices, cloud AI products, and more. Based on the details announced today, the Snapdragon 888 appears to feature performance improvements in areas like connectivity, gaming, camera, and AI. Let’s take a look at the details of the new chipset.

Snapdragon 888 in hand

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Highlights

1. Connectivity – the Snapdragon 888 features the 3rd-generation Snapdragon X60 Modem-RF system, which offers global compatibility for mmWave and sub-6GHz waves. In addition to that, it also brings support for multi-SIM, 5G carrier aggregation, DSS, and SA & NSA modes.

2. AI – in terms of AI performance, the latest Qualcomm offering employs the 6th-generation AI Engine. The new AI Engine uses the Hexagon processor to offer improved performance and power efficiency. Qualcomm says the engine can deliver up to 26TOPS of performance. Furthermore, the chipset also features the 2nd-generation Sensing Hub, which helps with intelligent operations while operating with low power.

3. Gaming – with smartphone gaming picking tremendous pace, gaming performance has slowly turned into a key highlight metric for chip designers and smartphone manufacturers. And the Snapdragon 888 promises to deliver on the same with its 3rd-generation Elite Gaming technology by claiming to offer an upgraded GPU performance.

4. Camera – similar to gaming, another major highlight on smartphones, these days, is the camera performance. With its latest chipset, Qualcomm promises to triple-down on computation photography to transform smartphones into a professional-quality camera. While we do not have the entire suite of specifications and details about the Snapdragon 888 as of yet, the company has shared a few highlights of its ISP to support its statement to a certain degree. It says the ISP on the Snapdragon 888 would enable users to capture photos and videos at 2.7 gigapixels per second or around 120 photos per second in 12MP resolution, which is 35% faster than the previous generation ISP.

Snapdragon 888 controlled RC car

Besides those specifications, Qualcomm also demoed a radio-controlled race car at the keynote to demonstrate the processing prowess of the Snapdragon 888. For this, it connected two cars to 5G (over mmWave) – built by Verizon and Ericsson — and controlled them using a Snapdragon 888 (reference) chip that uses the X60 5G Modem-RF System. Qualcomm says the cars were connected by drivers from a mile away, and the live feed from the track was viewed using the capture capabilities of its latest chipset. It adds that the new location capabilities of the Location Suite on the Snapdragon 888 further makes it easy to track the position of the cars with more accuracy.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Availability

As of today, the company has not revealed the availability of the Snapdragon 888. However, what we do know is that the next Xiaomi flagship, the Mi 11, will be among the first devices to run Snapdragon 888.

Snapdragon 888 onboard OEMs

Besides, some of the other OEMs that seem onboard for using the Snapdragon 888 on their upcoming devices include the following OEMs: ASUS, Black Shark, Lenovo, LG, MEIZU, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, OPPO, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

Stay tuned for further updates!

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  1. I don’t have high hopes for flagship processors because I think it is just a way to make the device pricier than it is actually worth.