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Qualcomm has thrown a curveball with the naming of their new flagship chipset. What was expected to be the Snapdragon 875 has now become the Snapdragon 888.

The naming convention is due to 888 being regarded by the Chinese as a symbol of fortune and prosperity, though I am not sure why they opted to use it this year rather than next when the 885 would have been due. One possible explanation is an olive branch to those in the industry caught up in the ongoing China-US trade war.

The annual tech summit has only completed the first day, so Qualcomm has been coy about specifics of their flagship chipset. However many manufactures were quick so confirm they will be using it, this includes ASUS, BlackShark, Lenovo, LG, MEIZU, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, OPPO, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

What we know so far

Not all that much, full details will be announced today on the 2nd of December.

Integrated X60 5G modem

Qualcomm has been at the forefront of 5G, and they have upgraded the 5G modem for the SD888. It will not be integrated onto the chipset rather than separate.

It then supports sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G multi-SIM support, improved carrier aggregation for fast data speeds, as well as Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, to improve support with existing 4G networks.

GPU and Gaming

The new Adreno GPU targets 144fps gaming and supports updateable GPU drivers. This is the “most significant upgrade in Qualcomm Adreno GPU performance,” according to the company.

I am sure each year is the most significant upgrade in Qualcomm Adreno GPU performance.

Image Processing & AI

The Snapdragon 888 chipset boats the next-gen Spectra ISP, which is now 35 percent faster than the Snapdragon 865 SoC. This means it is capable of capturing photos and videos at up to 2.7 gigapixels per second, which roughly translates to 120 photos at 12-megapixel resolution. The new Hexagon processor now delivers 26 TOPS, 11 more than the 15 TOPS on the Snapdragon 865 chip.

Wi-Fi 6E

There are some mixed reports about this, so not confirmed but it is expected to be the first chipset to support the new Wi-Fi 6E which will be able to use the 6Ghz channel.

No routers support this year, and Qualcomm only states supported. This could be similar to how the SD855 supported Wi-Fi 6, then no one but Samsung used it.

It is probably not worth getting excited about this year, but it should start the ball rolling for the new superior Wi-Fi

What we are expecting

What should be revealed today is the official spec, this includes the CPU and GPU details.

This will almost certainly be the first chipset to use the new extra powerful Arm Cortex-X1 which will then be combined with three Cortex-A78 cores and four A55 cores.

Phones confirmed to feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Realme Race – Model number RMX2202

Realme have given us the biggest teaser to date, with a screenshot of the spec of their latest flagship chipset, the Realme Race. This may not be the final name, but a code name. Not that their sister company OPPO already has the Ace.

The spec sheet doesn’t reveal too much except that it uses the Snapdragon 888, has 12GB of Ram and 256GB of storage.

Keep an eye out for RMX2202 popping up in benchmarks over the next few weeks.

Samsung Galaxy S21

The Samsung Galaxy flagship device is traditionally always the first phone to launch with the flagship chipset from Qualcomm, almost certainly in February. As usual, it will likely be Exynos in the UK and Snapdragon in the US. Lots of leaks and renders are coming out for this already.

Xiaomi Mi 11

Xiaomi are normally the 2nd company to get a flagship phone out, though I expect Realme may try and beat them this year.

All we know so far is that it is launching with the SD888.

OPPO Find X3

OPPO has stated:

OPPO will launch the first batch of flagship smartphones equipped with Snapdragon 888 in the first quarter of 2021, and we are extremely looking forward to this. We believe that the next generation of Find X series will bring an unparalleled new experience to users worldwide.

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