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Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G SoC with New AI Engine, GPU Announced for 2021's Flagship Phones

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G SoC with New AI Engine, GPU Announced for 2021's Flagship Phones

The Snapdragon 888 5G flagship SoC features the 3rd generation X60 modem with global 5G support, and a higher bandwidth ISP capable of better computational photography.

Qualcomm, one of the largest chipmakers in the world, has announced the Snapdragon 888 5G SoC at its ongoing Tech Summit. The flagship chipset, like every year, features incremental improvements to the overall performance, along with greater AI processing power, a more capable digital signal co-processor to take care of light and background tasks, and higher bandwidth image signal processor to support more complex smartphone photography applications, and a more capable GPU to process better graphics and AR/VR applications.

While the full set of technical details, including its fabrication process, are yet to be announced officially, Qualcomm is expected to move to a 5nm processor architecture after Apple introduced the 5nm Apple A14 SoC based on 5nm silicon die. The new generation Snapdragon X60 modem, which is paired with the Snapdragon 888 SoC, is expected to offer better connectivity performance, including support for both mmWave and Sub-6 5G spectrum, as well as standalone and non-standalone 5G networks – hence offering global 5G compatibility for future flagship phones set to launch in 2021.

Other upgrades to the Snapdragon 888 5G platform include 26 TOPS AI performance from the company’s new 6th generation AI platform and a new Hexagon co-processor, while the company also claims increased operational efficiency from the processing unit. The new generation Spectra ISP, meanwhile, is capable of supporting 2.7 gigapixel per second of image data. This will reportedly help the buffer in future flagship phones support upto 120 simultaneous 12-megapixel images taken per second. This will help increase applications of computational photography, which can further improve night photography applications in future smartphones.

Qualcomm also claims that its 3rd generation Snapdragon Elite Gaming processor that will apparently offer the most significant upgrade to the Adreno GPU so far. All of this adds up into what is a new generation of incremental improvements over the 2019 flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 865. Alongside this announcement, Xiaomi co-founder Lei Jun also announced that its 2021 flagship, the Mi 11, will use the Snapdragon 888 SoC, while Qualcomm has also stated that other OEMs that have “offered support” for the new SoC include OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Vivo, Asus and others.