• January 17, 2021

ARMs Race | Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 is faster, with more powerful AI and better cameras

 ARMs Race | Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 is faster, with more powerful AI and better cameras

On day one of the Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 888 platform that will power the next-gen Android flagships of 2021. On day two Qualcomm revealed all the details of their new flagship platform.

Snapdragon 888 platform details

The chip architecture will feature Qualcomm’s new Kryo 680 CPU which is based on Arm’s latest Cortex-X1 core which is said to deliver 25 percent more performance than the Snapdragon 865. The company’s new Adreno 660 GPU will deliver 35 percent more graphical rendering power, which marks its most improved GPU in its history.

The Snapdragon 888 differs from the 865 in many notable ways but the most notable feature was that the 5G modem would be integrated into the chip. Last year the Snapdragon 865 caused many Android phones to be larger because the 5G modem took additional space on the PCB. This caused 2020 Android phones to be larger and more expensive. Many Android OEM’s like Nokia, LG and others skipped the 865 in favor of the 765 5G because of these factors.

The Snapdragon 888 will feature Qualcomm’s X60 modem that was announced early in 2020. The X60 modem features a 5nm process that results in 7.5 Gbps. It also improves the mmWave and sub-6GHz bands of spectrum. Additionally, the Snapdragon 888 will Wi-Fi 6 and the new 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E standard.

All of this looks like it will result in large battery improvements. Qualcomm previewed a number of other advances coming with their flagship platform like the 6th-generation AI Engine powered by a new Hexagon processor, with promised gains in performance for AI tasks. The GPU in the Snapdragon 888 will have the “most significant upgrade in Qualcomm Adreno GPU performance.”

As computational photography becomes more and more important, so is Qualcomm’s emphasis on their camera capabilities. The new Spectra 580 ISP (image signal processor) is a first from Qualcomm and features a triple ISP which is said to enable it to capture three simultaneous 4K HDR video streams or three 28-megapixel photos at once at up to 2.7 gigapixels per second which is reportedly 35 percent faster than the Snapdragon 865 offered. It is also capable of offering improved burst capabilities, it can deliver capturing up to 120 photos in single second at a 10-megapixel resolution. The Spectra 580 ISP also delivers improved computational HDR to 4K videos, an improved low-light capture architecture and the option to shoot photos in 10-bit color in the HEIF image format.

Detailed specs

Cellular Modem

Performance Enhancement Technologies: Qualcomm® Wideband Envelope Tracking, Qualcomm® Smart Transmit™ technology, Qualcomm® Signal Boost adaptive antenna tuning, Qualcomm® 5G PowerSave

Peak Upload Speed: 3 Gbps

5G Spectrum: Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), mmWave, sub-6 GHz

5G mmWave specs: 800 MHz bandwidth, 8 carriers, 2×2 MIMO

5G sub-6 GHz specs: 200 MHz bandwidth, 4×4 MIMO

Peak Download Speed: 7.5 Gbps

Multi-SIM features: Global 5G multi-SIM

Modem Name: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X55 5G modem-RF system

Cellular Technology: HSPA, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, CDMA 1x, EV-DO, GSM/EDGE, LTE including CBRS support

Qualcomm® Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine

AIE GPU: Qualcomm® Adreno™ 650 GPU 

AIE CPU: Qualcomm® Kryo™ 585 CPU

Hexagon Processor: Qualcomm® Hexagon™ Scalar Accelerator, Qualcomm® Hexagon™ Vector eXtensions (HVX), Qualcomm® Hexagon™ Tensor Accelerator, Qualcomm® Sensing Hub, Qualcomm® Hexagon™ 698 Processor

CPU

CPU Clock Speed: Up to 2.84 GHz

CPU Cores:  Qualcomm® Kryo™ 585 CPU

CPU Architecture: 64-bit

Process

Process Technology: 7 nm

DSP

DSP Technology: Qualcomm® Hexagon™ Vector eXtensions (HVX)

Qualcomm® FastConnect™ Subsystem

Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Subsystem: Qualcomm® FastConnect™ 6800

60 GHz Wi-Fi features: Always-on Wi-Fi sensing, Wire-equivalent latency

Bluetooth Features: 1-to-many Bluetooth broadcast, Qualcomm TrueWireless™ Stereo, Bluetooth 5.1, Qualcomm® aptX™ Voice audio for super wide band voice calls, Qualcomm® aptX™ Adaptive Audio

Wi-Fi 6 features: MU-MIMO (Uplink and Downlink), 8×8 sounding, OFDMA (Uplink and Downlink), 1024 QAM, Dual-band simultaneous (DBS), WPA3 security support, Target Wake Time

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Standards: Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6-ready, 802.11ad, 802.11ay, 802.11ac Wave 2, 802.11a/b/g, 802.11n

Qualcomm® Wi-Fi 6 technology features: MU-MIMO (Uplink and Downlink), 8×8 sounding, OFDMA (Uplink and Downlink), 1024 QAM, Dual-band simultaneous (DBS), WPA3 security support, Target Wake Time

Wi-Fi Spectral Bands: 2.4GHz, 5GHz, 60GHz

Peak Speed: 10 Gbps

Qualcomm® 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology features: Always-on Wi-Fi sensing, Wire-equivalent latency

Bluetooth

Bluetooth Audio:  Qualcomm® aptX™ Adaptive Audio, aptX Voice audio for super wide band voice calls, Qualcomm TrueWireless™ Stereo

Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.1

NFC

Near Field Communications: Supported

Location

Satellite Systems Support: Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, Dual frequency GNSS, NavIC enabled, GPS, GNSS, QZSS, SBAS

USB

USB Version: USB 3.1, USB-C

Camera

Image Signal Processor: Qualcomm Spectra™ 480 image signal processor, Hardware accelerator for computer vision (CV-ISP), Dual 14-bit CV-ISPs

Dual Camera, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 25 MP

Single Camera, MFNR, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 64 MP

Single Camera: Up to 200 MP

Camera Features: HEIF photo capture

Slow Motion Video Capture: 720p @ 960 FPS

Video Capture Formats: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HEVC

Video Capture Features: 4K video capture with simultaneous 64MP photo capture, Rec. 2020 color gamut video capture, Up to 10-bit color depth video capture

Video

Codec Support: Dolby Vision, H.265 (HEVC), HDR10+, HLG, HDR10, H.264 (AVC), VP8, VP9

Display

Max On-Device Display: 4K @ 60 Hz, QHD+ @ 144 Hz

Max External Display: 4K @ 60 Hz

HDR: HDR10+, HDR10

Color Depth: Up to 10-bit

Color Gamut: Rec2020

General Audio

Audio Technology: Qualcomm® Hexagon™ Voice Assistant Accelerator, Qualcomm Aqstic™ audio codec up to Qualcomm® WCD9385, Qualcomm Aqstic™ smart speaker amplifier up to Qualcomm® WSA8815, Qualcomm Aqstic™ audio technology

GPU

GPU Name: Qualcomm® Adreno™ 650 GPU

GPU Video Playback: Volumetric VR video playback, 8K 360 VR video playback

API Support: OpenCL™ 2.0 FP, OpenGL® ES 3.2, Vulkan® 1.1, DX12

Charging

Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ Technology Support: Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 4+ technology, Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ AI

Security Support

Fingerprint Sensor: Qualcomm® 3D Sonic, Qualcomm® 3D Sonic Max 

Secure Processing Unit: Biometric Authentication (Fingerprint, Iris, Voice, Face)

Security Features: Camera Security, Crypto Engine, Key Provisioning Security, Malware Protection, Qualcomm® Content Protection, Qualcomm® Mobile Security, Qualcomm® Processor Security, Qualcomm® Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), Secure Boot, Secure Token

Memory

Memory speed: 2750MHz

Memory Type: 4x16bit, LPDDR5 

Part

Part Number(s): SM8250

Typically, Samsung is the first to snag the bulk of the available Snapdragon chips and we may start to see handsets from Samsung and others in 2021.

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