Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 888, its top-tier SoC (system-on-chip) which will be powering some of the biggest flagship smartphones in 2021.
The new chipset was announced during Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit 2020 – an annual event where the chip maker unveils its latest technology for the next generation of phones.
What makes the announcement of the next flagship Qualcomm chipset exciting is the new features it will enable on future smartphones.
The previous 865 was found in variants of the Samsung Galaxy S20 range, the OnePlus 8 series and a huge variety of handsets from manufacturers such as Xiaomi, LG, Sony and more – which means the new Snapdragon 888 could well find its way into some of the biggest handsets of 2021.
The summit is a two-day event, and so we’ll be updating you with everything you need to know about the new Snapdragon 888, and whatever else Qualcomm has in store for you, live on TechRadar.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A top-tier chipset to power the next-gen of flagship phones
- When’s it out? We expect sometime in 2021
Snapdragon 888 features
The new Snapdragon 888 chipset features Qualcomm’s latest X60 5G Modem, offering better connectivity and more support for the next generation network around the world, including enhanced mmWave support.
Does this mean you’ll see more 5G phones in 2021? Almost certainly. In fact, we expect almost all flagship smartphones next year to be 5G ready. Most manufacturers are already moving that way, but it’s likely it’ll be even more of the norm next year.
Qualcomm has also increased the AI capabilities on the Snapdragon 888, with the chip able to process far more operations per second versus its predecessor – making for more intelligent features and better power consumption.
Gamers are catered for with the inclusion of Snapdragon Elite Gaming on the SoC, which can provide frames rates of up to 144fps and Qualcomm boasts that it delivers the “most significant upgrade in Adreno GPU performance” – a claim we’ll put to the test when the first handsets land in 2021.
Call of Duty Mobile, Fortnite and PUBG were all namechecked during the launch, so we may be seeing some specific improvements to those titles in the near future on flagship Android phones.
There’s good news for mobile photographers too, as the Snapdragon 888 chipset allows handsets to “capture photos and videos at 2.7 gigapixels per second or roughly 120 photos at 12MP resolution.” That’s 35% faster than the 875 chip.
We’re expecting to hear more about the company’s new features in the coming days as Qualcomm will be hosting a second conference where we expect to hear more specifics.
Which phones will feature Snapdragon 888?
A number of phone manufacturers have already been confirmed as using the Snapdragon 888 chipset in upcoming handsets.
Those companies are; Asus, BlackShark, Lenovo, LG, Meizu, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.
Xiaomi has said its next phone will be coming soon and it’ll feature the Snapdragon 888. We expect that to be the Xiaomi Mi 11, but that has yet to be confirmed specifically.
Both Sony and Samsung aren’t included on that list, but it doesn’t mean those companies won’t be supporting the Snapdragon 888 on flagship phones in 2021.
Sony even featured during the launch itself, so we’d expect any future top-end phones from that company to support this newer chip.
Wait, where is the Snapdragon 875?
Originally we had expected the next top-end Qualcomm chip would be called the 875, but the company has instead changed its naming structure to make this the Snapdragon 888.
Exactly why that is hasn’t been made clear by the company yet, but this means there won’t be a Snapdragon 875 like some had been expecting.