Next year’s best smartphones* will feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor


It’s that time of the year again. No, not where you stress about how much weight you’ve gained and promise to do better. Qualcomm’s revealed its newest high-end mobile processor, the Snapdragon 888. Bet you were expecting something with a five at the end, weren’t you?

Technically we should have seen the Snapdragon 875 or even 885 (the current chip is the Snapdragon 865) but Qualcomm’s gone for the 888, because… reasons? It’s “…an auspicious name in Chinese culture”, reports Engadget. That’s probably reason enough to do it. Plus, everyone likes consecutive numbers.

Snapdragon 888, by the numbers

Qualcomm’s still got some explaining to do but this is what we know about the new headline processor. For the first time, the Snapdragon 800-series chip will integrate its 5G modem — and it’s using the X60 5G modem to get its point across.

The company’s sticking in a Spectra 580 image signal processor, which will allow phones to capture three 28MP images at the same time. It’ll also support recording of three simultaneous 4K HDR video streams — we don’t even want to think what doing that will do to a phone, thermally. It’ll probably get a little warm…

Image capture has been speeded up, the chipset will be able to authenticate images that haven’t been retouched (on certain platforms) and there’s a new AI engine inside as well.

The company’s stuck a new GPU, the Adreno 660, inside as well. Qualcomm reckons it’ll enable variable rate shading, and it should speed up rendering by up to 35%. The CPU portion of the chip also gets an overhaul — there are still eight cores but one of them is a “prime” ARM X1 core (which runs at up to 2.86GHz), there are three Cortex A78 cores dedicated to high-performance and the remaining four Cortex A55 cores are for efficiency operations.

That’s the Snapdragon 888,  the chip that’ll wind up in just about every flagship smartphone* in 2021. Terms and conditions apply, of course.

*Next year’s best smartphones, besides the Samsung headliner we will get here with an Exynos chipset, and everything that Apple launches in 2021. 


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