Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 mobile SoC announced, focuses on AI, gaming and photography

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Holding Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor
Image source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon 888, its next-generation flagship system-on-chip (SoC) for smartphones, at the 2020 Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit.

The Snapdragon 888 is Qualcomm’s first flagship SoC with an integrated 5G modem. Moving the modem into the SoC increases efficiency, performance, and saves space on the mainboard. Qualcomm’s previous flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 865, scrapped plans for an integrated modem before its release. Instead, the company introduced integrated 5G modems with its mid-range 700 series SoCs.

The Qualcomm X60 5G modem supports mmWave and sub-6GHz carrier aggregation. It also sports global standards for stand-alone, non-standalone, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing infrastructures.

The Snapdragon 888 also comes with the 6th generation Qualcomm AI engine. Qualcomm said that the AI engine features a re-engineered Hexagon processor with an improved software stack. It touted that the AI engine can process 26 tera operations per second (TOPS).

In addition, Qualcomm announced its third-generation Qualcomm Elite Gaming, a suite of technologies that collectively enhances mobile gaming experience. The Qualcomm Adreno GPU plays an important role in achieving this goal, and Qualcomm said that the Snapdragon 888 achieves the “biggest leap in GPU performance yet.” However, the company did not quantify the improvement.

The SoC’s camera processing capabilities have been improved as well. The new Qualcomm Spectra image signal processor (ISP) can capture 2.7 gigapixels per second, or around 120fps at 12MP, a 35 per cent increase over the previous generation. This should give camera manufacturers greater flexibility when designing their camera systems.

In its day-one presentation, the company only gave an overview of the chip’s key capabilities and improvement areas. Other specifications, including subsystem specifications, are still unknown.

The Snapdragon 888 will be available in premium smartphones starting next year.

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