Snapdragon 888 5G SoC to improve overall phone experience drastically

The much anticipated Snapdragon Tech Summit 2020 is here, and this time around it is a virtual event live streamed from Hawaii owing to the current pandemic. The first day of the keynote brought forth details about the highly awaited Snapdragon processor for 2021. Surprising everyone in the tech community with the name – “Snapdragon 888”, Qualcomm ditched the expected naming convention of a “Snapdragon 875.”

The virtual keynote from Qualcomm’s Incorporated President, Cristiano Amon brought superficial details about the chipset, and now on the second day of the virtual event more in-depth information about the new flagship Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform is announced.

Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile, computer, and infrastructure Qualcomm Technologies said, “The new flagship Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform will enable OEMs to further differentiate their devices and allows users to experience the latest cutting-edge mobile technologies.”

Phones running on Snapdragon 888 are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2021 – these include names like Xiaomi, OPPO, Realme, and OnePlus. So let’s take a look at how Snapdragon 888 will improve the overall smartphone experience.

Performance and 5G connectivity

Snapdragon 888 manufactured using the most advanced 5nm based process, promises unparalleled performance and superior power efficiency. The Qualcomm Kryo 680 beefs up the overall CPU performance to 25-percent with a top frequency of up to 2.84GHz. It’s the first-ever commercial CPU subsystem based on the Arm Cortex-X1, giving it an advantage over the competition.

On the other hand, Qualcomm Adreno 660 GPU achieves 35-percent faster graphics rendering improvement over the previous generation GPU on Snapdragon 865. Both the Kryo 680 and Adreno 660 combine peak performance for modern smartphones – sustaining the levels over long periods of time for flagship devices.

For enhanced mobile experience, Snapdragon 888 implements 5G along with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth audio – making it the world’s most advanced chipset for upcoming phones in 2021. The chipset has integrated 3rd generation Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System (supports 5G sub-6 carrier aggregation) for the world’s fastest commercially available 5G speeds – up to 7.5 Gbps!

The Modem-RF System also supports quality connectivity across all major networks worldwide courtesy the use of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing technology. Snapdragon 888 has inherent support for Global 5G multi-SIM to make international roaming possible or optimizing monthly subscription costs.

Thanks to the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 Mobile Connectivity System, you’ll get to enjoy the fastest Wi-Fi 6 speeds on a phone around 3.6 Gbps. The technology also delivers a new class of clear and responsive audio supporting Bluetooth 5.2, dual Bluetooth antennas, Qualcomm aptX suite, broadcast audio and advanced modulation & coding optimizations.

Camera performance

With the Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform comes the Spectra 580 having triple ISP for professional-grade photography thanks to the triple camera concurrency and triple parallel processing. This tech captures photos/video from the ultra-wide, wide and telephoto lens at the same time in 4K HDR and 28MP quality respectively.

This enables a smoother zooming transition between the cameras as the cameras are running in the background. Spectra 580’s capability comes from the improved computer vision and speed improvements – 35 percent faster with the 2.7 Gigapixels per second capture capability. One can capture 120 photos in one second at 12MP quality with the new tech.

Staggered HDR enhances the HDR video/photo quality as it captures three images at the same time as the scene. Spectra 580 does all the magic to create final image having an incredible dynamic range. Photos will get new HDR capabilities with 10-bit color depth in the HEIF format.

Qualcomm Spectra 580 will bring the 10th generation of 3A algorithms – for the first time 3A will be powered by AI for professional quality images. Platform’s Arcsoft tech will bring the capability to track and zoom in and out automatically for a true point and shoot experience.

Gaming prowess

Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform brings unprecedented gaming experience to the Android devices with the Adreno 660 GPU that now has 35-percent faster graphics rendering while being 20-percent more power-efficient. With the Qualcomm Game Quick Touch to reduce touch latency that depends on factors like – timing of a game’s display VSync and its frame submission.

The new feature is optimized at the millisecond level for faster response times. Qualcomm Game Quick Touch decreases the touch latency by up to 20 percent. Even for games running at 120 fps or more.

For the first time, Variable Rate Shading (VRS) is coming to mobile devices courtesy of Snapdragon Elite Gaming. Powered by the new Adreno 660 GPU, VRS helps reduce GPU workloads to enhance game performance – running games faster and at higher resolutions without compromise in visual fidelity.

AI capability

Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform brings the 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine honed by the Hexagon 780 processor, which is more powerful and sophisticated in its function than the predecessor. Based on the fused AI accelerator architecture that fuses the scalar (now 50 percent more powerful), vector (supports additional data types), and tensor (now two times faster) accelerators for a unified AI accelerator.

The platform includes a dedicated shared memory (16 times larger) for the three accelerators for efficient data sharing and movement of this data. Combine this with the Adreno 680 GPU which brings 43 percent AI performance boost thanks to the 4-input mixed precision dot product and wave matrix multiply for faster floating-point calculation.

Snapdragon 888 also brings the 2nd generation Qualcomm Sensing Hub with a dedicated always-on, low-power AI processor and an impressive 5 times AI performance improvement for taking up the 80-percent of the workload usually designated for Hexagon processor.

The Sensing Hub will be able to collect and decipher data from the cores to create a contextual awareness scenario. This will bring ability to collect 5G connectivity data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and location streams for appealing use cases.


Snapdragon 888 uses Secure Processing Unit, Trusted Execution Environment, and support for Wireless Edge Services (cloud service that interacts with apps/services to assess the security) for a secure ecosystem. The processor comes with a new Type-1 Hypervisor to secure and isolate data between apps and multiple OSs on the same phone. Also, in collaboration with Truepic, Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform captures cryptographically-sealed photos, compliant with the open Content Authenticity Initiative standard.

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