Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 is built to power flagship Android phones in 2021

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 will power the next wave of flagship Android phones arriving in 2021.
Image: Qualcomm

Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm have quickly become the standard for flagship and budget Android devices. The company recently announced its latest high-end processor, the Snapdragon 888, which will power the next generation of flagship smartphones.

The chip will be found in devices from manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, OnePlus, LG, and more. While it brings many features to the table, the Snapdragon 888’s biggest improvement is a new integrated 5G modem. That marks a first for the company’s 8-series chips and will make it easier for manufacturers to design their devices.

Integrated 5G At Last

The 5G revolution is now in full swing as almost every manufacturer has at least one 5G device on the market. Consumers are starting to accept the premium devices—despite their high price tags—which has helped 5G catch on. Telecom providers are also rolling out nationwide 5G networks, making the newest protocol more accessible to those outside of major urban hubs.

With all this in mind, Qualcomm made an interesting decision with its previous generation of Snapdragon chips. It omitted an integrated 5G modem, forcing manufacturers to find space for yet another chip inside their already-packed smartphones.

That is changing with the Snapdragon 888. Qualcomm’s new chipset will feature the X60 5G modem, which it announced earlier this year. Moreover, it boasts a 5nm process, leading to better network performance and power efficiency. Consumers will notice that phones running on the Snapdragon 888 will have a significantly longer battery life than competing devices.

Other Notable Features

The Snapdragon 888’s integrated 5G modem might be the star of the show. However, there are plenty of other features worth getting excited about. Qualcomm notes that it is equipped with new photography features that allow it to shoot 120 photos per second. Better yet, those images are captured at a 12-megapixel resolution courtesy of the updated image signal processor (ISP).

Those are two noteworthy improvements that will help the flagship smartphones of 2021 shine in the photography department.

On top of this, the latest chip uses Qualcomm’s sixth-gen AI Engine. This provides a dramatic performance boost for demanding artificial intelligence (AI) tasks.

Although the specifics haven’t been announced, the Snapdragon 888 will also feature the “most significant upgrade in Qualcomm Adreno GPU performance.” It will be interesting to see what areas that upgrade will enhance.

Qualcomm stuck to its typical reveal schedule with its recent Snapdragon 888 announcement. Consumers should expect to get a closer look at the flagship processor on December 2 during the second day of the Snapdragon Tech Summit.

Since Qualcomm essentially dominates the flagship Android smartphone space, the reveal will be a glimpse at not only the Snapdragon 888 but also at the next generation of Android devices. The processor’s performance will dictate the features found in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21, the next OnePlus handset, and many others.


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