Living in a pandemic world, Qualcomm’s annual shindig in Hawaii where it takes a bunch of tech bloggers to announce its latest Snapdragon processor is no longer possible to hold in person, which means that the 2020 edition is a virtual event. Today is the first day of the online event, and so far we’ve learned that the chipmaker’s next premium processor is auspiciously named the Snapdragon 888 (and not the SD875) and the possibility that it might not be used in either Samsung or Google’s flagships in 2021.
What we know so far:
- Snapdragon 888, with the 3rd generation Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X60 5G Modem-RF System, enables global compatibility by offering mmWave and sub-6 across all major bands worldwide, as well as support for 5G carrier aggregation, global multi-SIM, stand-alone, non-standalone, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing.
- The new 6th generation Qualcomm® AI Engine, with the completely re-engineered Qualcomm® Hexagon™ processor, takes a pivotal leap forward in AI compared to the previous generation to improve performance, power efficiency—all at an astonishing 26 tera operations per second (TOPS). The platform is further enhanced by the 2nd generation Qualcomm® Sensing Hub, which incorporates lower-power always-on AI processing for intuitive, intelligent features.
- The 3rd generation of Snapdragon Elite Gaming featured in Snapdragon 888 delivers Qualcomm Technologies’ most significant upgrade in Qualcomm® Adreno™ GPU performance.
- Snapdragon 888 will triple down on the future of computational photography and transform smartphones into professional-quality cameras. With the faster gigapixel speed Qualcomm Spectra™ ISP, users can capture photos and videos at 2.7 gigapixels per second or roughly 120 photos at 12MP resolution—up to 35% faster than the previous generation.
What does all that mean for the average user? Simply put, it’s similar to every other year in that you can expect more speed, increased power efficiency, the ability to shoot better photos and video, and an improved gaming experience.
As you can see from the image above, there are two noticeable absences from the line-up of OEM and those are Google and Samsung. Pre-2020, we would have expected Google to be included but with the search giant pivoting to more affordable mid-range offerings, it’s not a huge surprise. Samsung, on the other hand, represents a substantial void in that you would expect its next handsets such as the Galaxy S21 and Z Fold 3 to be powered by the Snapdragon 888. Samsung last launched a flagship (the Galaxy S6) sans Qualcomm when the hand-warming Snapdragon 810 chip was around.
Lending further weight to the theory is the list of OEMs that have announced their support for the Snapdragon 888 processor:
- Black Shark
And, with Samsung having (finally) ditched its dalliance with the Mongoose cores seen on previous Exynos processors and switching to ARM designs, with the new Exynos 1080 having already been benchmarked with higher numbers than the current Snapdragon 865+, we may see the Galaxy S21 launching with the same chip in every region once again.
Qualcomm will announce more details on the Snapdragon 888 processor and other products on the second day of its virtual summit, and we’ll be back with the info when it becomes available.