Qualcomm’s next-gen flagship smartphone processor is designed to bring big boosts in CPU, graphics, and AI performance, while also bringing improvements in efficiency which could lead to longer battery life.
After revealing a few details about the new Snapdragon 888 processor yesterday, Qualcomm is offering a deeper dive into what makes the new chip special enough to skip a few model numbers (given the company’s naming scheme for the last few years, I would have expected the next chip to be called Snapdragon 875).
First up, the new processor is Qualcomm’s first 5nm system-on-a-chip, which the company says brings improvements to performance and efficiency. Second, it’s the first processor to incorporate ARM’s Cortex-X1 technology, with the Kryo 680 octa-core CPU featuring:
- 1 x 2.84 GHz highest-performance Cortex-X1 “supercore”
- 3 x 2.84 GHz high-performance Cortex-A78 cores
- 4 x 1.8 GHz efficiency Cortex-A55 cores
All told, Qualcomm says you can expect a 25-percent improvement in overall performance, and a 25-percent reduction in power consumption.
But the CPU is just one component of the Snapdragon 888 processor. Qualcomm says the new Adreno 660 GPU also brings a 35-percent boost in graphics and a 20-percent reduction in power consumption, the Spectra 580 image signal processor offers 35-percent faster performance and allows you to use a smartphone camera to capture up to 120 pictures per second at resolutions of 12MP, the Hexagon 780 AI processor brings significant improvements as well, and the new integrated Snapdragon X60 5G modem brings support for download speeds as high as 7.5 Gbps and upload speeds up to 3 Gbps using Qualcomm’s 3rd-gen 5G modem technology.
The company says its AI Engine delivers up to 26 TOPs of performance. And the company has also brought a Hypervisor to its mobile chipset for the first time, allowing for quick switching between operating systems or allowing for apps to be isolated from the base operating system for privacy or keeping work/home profiles completely separate, for example.
Other technology baked into Snapdragon 888 includes a FastConnect system with support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, Quick Charge 5 technology that will allow you to take a phone from a 0 to 50 percent charge in as little as 5 minutes, and support for Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic fingerprint solution.
So what does this all actually mean in terms of new experiences? Here are a few things that Qualcomm says its Snapdragon 888 chip can offer:
- Support for capturing three photos at up to 28MP simultaneously
- 4K video capture at up to 120 frames per second
- Enhanced AI for augmented reality and other applications (a demo includes replacing a character in a video or adding yourself to that movie scene)
- Support for phones with up to a 4K 60Hz display or a QHD+ screen at 144 Hz
- Support for Variable Rate Shading in video games
Phones with Snapdragon 888 processors should start hitting the streets in the first quarter of 2021.