Dec 1st, 2020

Qualcomm’s annual Snapdragon Tech Summit kicked off today with the official unveiling of the new Snapdragon 888 chipset that will most likely be featured in most Android-powered flagship smartphones in 2021. 

Qualcomm isn’t quite ready to reveal all of the Snapdragon 888’s secrets, but the biggest change, when compared to the current Snapdragon 865 is the integration of the X60 5G modem. While every smartphone using the Snapdragon 865 chipset did offer 5G connectivity, Qualcomm wasn’t able to integrate the 5G modem into the chipset, requiring manufacturers included the required 5G modem as a separate component inside the phone. This setup not only reduced the efficiency of the chipset but also required manufacturers to get creative with the internal design of their smartphones so that the 5G modem could fit.

The second major improvement Qualcomm is touring with the Snapdragon chipset is its upgraded ISP that has been given a 35 percent performance boost. The Snapdragon 888 will not allow smartphones to capture up to 120 12-megapixel photos per second. While capturing bursts of photos may be exciting for some, the ISP improvement will also be used by manufacturers to enhance computational photography, boosting sharpness and image brightness.

The sixth-generation AI engine running on the new Hexagon processor promises significant improvements in AI processing and the “significant upgrade in Qualcomm Adreno GPU performance” should take mobile gaming to the next level. The details are still being kept under wraps, but are expected to be shared sometime tomorrow. 

More details regarding the Snapdragon 888’s overall performance and how it stacks up against the current Snapdragon 865 will be shared tomorrow during day 2 of the Snapdragon Summit.

While the flagship chipsets from Qualcomm always set the bar high for what we can expect from flagship smartphones the following year, the company’s mid0range SD765 made the biggest splash in 2020, delivering powerful yet affordable 5G devices for the average consumer. It’ll be interesting to see if Qualcomm has a mid-range Snapdragon 777 right around the corner that may be a better option for those who may not be willing to pay the premium prices that accompany flagship-tier smartphones.