Qualcomm is the name of the game when it comes to high-end Android smartphones, and today we’re getting the first details on what’s next. For 2021, the processor we’ll see in many major Android phones will be the Snapdragon 888.

Succeeding the Snapdragon 865, the 888 will make its debut in the Xiaomi Mi 11 series before showing up in flagship phones from LG, OnePlus, and more throughout the year. Notably, this is the first time in a while that Samsung hasn’t been directly confirmed to be using the chip, hinting that the company may be looking to swap to its in-house Exynos.

Qualcomm will be going into full detail on what the Snapdragon 888 will be bringing to the table this week, but today we’re getting a few key details. For one, the 888 will support displays with a refresh rate up to 144Hz. Gamers will also appreciate that Qualcomm says this chip has the “most significant” GPU upgrade to date. The chip also sees an update to its ISP which can now take photos and videos at up to 2.7 gigapixels per second, a 35% increase over the 865. That’s 120 12MP photos per second!

Update 12/2: On day two of its yearly Tech Summit, Qualcomm is now detailing the performance gains and other actual numbers on the Snapdragon 888, and it’s actually a considerable gain over last year.

The Snapdragon 888 is utilizing the Kryo 680 CPU that features a new Arm Cortex-X1 core alongside 3 mid-size cores and 4 small cores. Altogether, the CPU should bring overall performance gains of up to 25% compared to the Snapdragon 865 with a maximum clock speed of 2.84GHz. Despite that, power efficiency improves by around 25%.

On the GPU side of things, the 888 uses an Adreno 660 GPU that brings a 35% improvement on performance. Qualcomm says it’s the biggest jump forward so far. Plus, the GPU also improves power efficiency by 20%.

As previously noted, 5G is integrated directly into the Snapdragon 888, thanks the X60 modem, which Qualcomm also noted includes support for Wi-Fi 6 and 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E. On the AI front, Qualcomm also claims the Hexagon 780 AI processor can perform over 26 trillion operations per second, a considerable jump over 15 trillion on the 865, all while being three times more power efficient.

As far as 5G goes, the third-generation X60 5G modem is on board and will support Sub-6 and mmWave connectivity. Unlike the previous Snapdragon 865, that modem is integrated directly into the Snapdragon 888, a move that should save space within smartphones.

So far, 14 Android OEMs have been confirmed to be developing devices using the Snapdragon 888 including:

  • ASUS
  • Black Shark
  • Lenovo
  • LG
  • Motorola
  • Nubia
  • Realme
  • OnePlus
  • OPPO
  • Sharp
  • Vivo
  • Xiaomi
  • ZTE

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Ben Schoon

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