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Snapdragon 888: Qualcomm’s 5G-integrated SoC will power Android phones of the future

Qualcomm has taken the covers off the next generation chipset that will be used by the majority of Android smartphones in the flagship in 2021. The Snapdragon 888, as it is auspiciously named, comes with a major upgrade: a fully integrated 5G modem, just like the mid-range Snapdragon 750G.

This offers a number of upgrades, including the more efficient performance—which should translate to better battery life for smartphones using the chipset. This should also give Android flagships a major boost over long-time (and only) rivals in the smartphone space: Apple.

The brand new iPhone 12 series, for some comparison, ships with the A14 chip—along with the external X55 modem. Meanwhile, Huawei’s Kirin 990 5G chipset also has an integrated 5G chipset; that was first seen on the Mate 30 Pro 5G.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm promises “global compatibility” for 5G:

“Snapdragon 888, with the 3rd generation Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System, enables global compatibility by offering mmWave and sub-6 across all major bands worldwide, as well as support for 5G carrier aggregation, global multi-SIM, stand alone, non-stand alone, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing.”

Taking into account the increasing graphics demands of mobile gaming, the Snapdragon 888 will also deliver the “most significant upgrade” ever for a Qualcomm Adreno GPU. Mobile photography should also be improved, with the updated ISP enabling users to shoot around 120 photos per second at 12MP, 35 percent faster than the Snapdragon 865. Other upgrades include a new 5nm process for better efficiency, and Qualcomm’s 6th generation AI engine.

“Since its inception, Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming has delivered dozens of mobile-first technologies to smartphones, including updateable GPU Drivers, Desktop Forward Rendering, and frame rates achieving up to 144 frames per second (fps). The 3rd generation of Snapdragon Elite Gaming featured in Snapdragon 888 delivers Qualcomm Technologies’ most significant upgrade in Qualcomm Adreno GPU performance.”

Which phones will run on the Snapdragon 888? Qualcomm hasn’t given away exact models yet, but brands including Asus, Black Shark, Lenovo, LG, Meizu, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE have already pledged their support for Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line chipset. In any case, it seems safe to assume that the majority of flagship smartphones of 2021 such as the upcoming Galaxy S21 (depending on market, of course) will run on the SD888.

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