At its first virtual annual tech summit, Qualcomm officially took the wraps off the Snapdragon 888 5G SoC. The flagship chipset uses Qualcomm’s 3rd generation 5G modem, the Snapdragon X60-5G RF system. It also incorporates Qualcomm’s 6th generation AI engine supported by what Qualcomm claims is a “completely re-engineered” Hexagon co-processor. The company claims that the new AI engine and co-processor is significantly more power efficient, while being capable of delivering 26 TOPS AI performance – considerably higher than the Snapdragon 865’s 15 TOPS performance capability.
The new Hexagon DSP is paired with a new Sensing Hub, now in its second generation after premiering last year. The hub enables the Snapdragon 888 to have the AI engine running at a low-power, always-on state for advanced background tasks. Qualcomm also states that the Snapdragon 888 also comes with the 3rd generation Elite Gaming engine, which it says lends the “most significant upgrade” to its custom fabricated Adreno GPU integrated in the SoC.
Also upgraded is the Qualcomm Spectra ISP, which is certain to put more emphasis on computational photography. The latter also has higher data bandwidth to support higher resolution sensors and larger buffer for more photography applications. According to the company, the new Spectra ISP can shoot at up to 2.7 gigapixels per second, which collates to 120 12-megapixel photos each second, signifying 35 percent faster shooting speeds and a significantly increased buffer size that future flagship phones are sure to benefit from.
Smartphone makers that are likely to use the Snapdragon 888 5G SoC in their phones, as stated that the virtual tech summit, include major Chinese players such as OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Vivo, and Xiaomi, and others. Xiaomi co-founder Lei Jun also confirmed that the 2021 Xiaomi flagship, the Mi 11, will be “one of the first” phones in the world to use the Snapdragon 888 SoC. Others, including Sony and OnePlus, expressed support on how previous generation Qualcomm chipsets offered significant jumps in performance, including enabling the OnePlus 8 series phones to become the first in the world to run popular battle royale game Fortnite at consistent 90fps frame rates.
More details, including specific technical illustration of the new Snapdragon 888 5G SoC, will be revealed over the next few days.