Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 “5G Mobile Platform” to power nexgen smartphones

Today, at its Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm unveiled its newest cellular 5G mobile platform for smartphones and other 5G endpoints in a move to extend its seemingly insurmountable lead in the cellular SoC smartphone market.

The Snapdragon 888 is Qualcomm’s newest high-end applications processor 5G SoC for smartphones.  It is built on Samsung’s new 5nm semiconductor process and features an eight-core design, with the big core starting with a new super-core ARM Cortex-X1, which Qualcomm calls a “Super Core” at 2.84GHz. There are also three 2.4GHz A78 cores, four 1.8GHz A55 cores, and the GPU graphics cores have been upgraded to the Adreno 660, a design that is unbeatable in terms of performance. The Snapdragon 888 is also Qualcomm’s first integrated flagship 5G SoC, incorporating the Snapdragon X60 5G baseband.

The Snapdragon 888 will feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X60 modem announced earlier this year, which uses the 5nm process for better power efficiency and improved 5G carrier aggregation across the mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrum. Global multi-SIM support, 5G SA independent, 5G NSA non-independent, and dynamic spectrum sharing. Between the new 5nm architecture and the power efficiency gains from the integrated modem, it appears that the new chip could provide some substantial battery life improvements in 5G.

In addition to the 5G improvements, Qualcomm also previewed several other advances for the Snapdragon 888, including a sixth-generation AI engine (running on a “redesigned” Qualcomm Hexagon processor) all at an astonishing 26 tera operations per second (TOPS). And a second-generation sensing hub that promises to deliver significant improvements in performance and performance for AI tasks. There’s a big jump in power efficiency.

 

At the Summit, the company demonstrated the power of Snapdragon 888 through a Radio-Controlled race car connected entirely by a 5G mmWave network.  Two race cars were connected to a private 5G network that was built with the help of Verizon and Ericsson and controlled over 5G using a Snapdragon 888 reference design with the Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System. The drivers controlled these cars from over a mile away and viewed live video of the track from afar using the amazing capture capabilities of Snapdragon 888. Additionally, with the help of Tension, the race can be viewed on multiple low latency streams to track the RC cars’ position on a dynamic map using the newest location capabilities of the Qualcomm® Location Suite for improved accuracy. This showcases the use case possibilities when high performance, reliable, and low latency communications are the norm.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Lekha Motiwala, director of product management for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., shared an inside look at the Company’s most premium offering.

  • Snapdragon 888, with the 3rd generation Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X60 5G Modem-RF System, enables global compatibility by offering mmWave and sub-6 across all major bands worldwide, as well as support for 5G carrier aggregation, global multi-SIM, stand alone, non-stand alone, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing.
  • The new 6th generation Qualcomm® AI Engine, with the completely re-engineered Qualcomm® Hexagon™ processor, takes a pivotal leap forward in AI compared to the previous generation to improve performance, power efficiency—all at an astonishing 26 tera operations per second (TOPS). The platform is further enhanced by the 2nd generation Qualcomm® Sensing Hub, which incorporates lower-power always-on AI processing for intuitive, intelligent features.
  • Since its inception, Qualcomm® Snapdragon Elite Gaming™ has delivered dozens of mobile-first technologies to smartphones, including Updateable GPU Drivers, Desktop Forward Rendering, and frame rates achieving up to 144 frames per second (fps). The 3rd generation of Snapdragon Elite Gaming featured in Snapdragon 888 delivers Qualcomm Technologies’ most significant upgrade in Qualcomm® Adreno™ GPU performance.
  • Snapdragon 888 will triple down on the future of computational photography and transform smartphones into professional quality cameras. With the faster gigapixel speed Qualcomm Spectra™ ISP, users can capture photos and videos at 2.7 gigapixels per second or roughly 120 photos at 12MP resolution—up to 35% faster than the previous generation.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Image Credit: Qualcomm

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“I’m thrilled about what’s ahead,” said Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon. “The potential of 5G is astounding.”  A number of analysts seemed to agreed with Amon’s positive outlook for their new flagship 5G mobile platform:

“The Snapdragon 888 is Qualcomm’s halo product,” wrote Anshel Sag, a consumer and chip tech analyst at research and consulting firm Moor Insights & Strategy, in response to questions from Light Reading. “The Snapdragon 888 will be the chip that most of the leading Android OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] will leverage to ship their flagship smartphones.”

“I believe that the Snapdragon 888’s X60 5G modem is going to be the biggest differentiator from the competition as most of the industry lags behind Qualcomm in modem capabilities,”  Sag added.

“Specs are up across the board,” Tweeted IDC analyst Phil Solis of the Snapdragon 888, noting that it supports more operations per second than any other smartphone on the market.

“We believe that the Snapdragon 888’s modem, AI, gaming and camera specs look very impressive,” wrote Sravan Kundojjala of Strategy Analytics. “Historically, premium tier chips accounted for less than 15% of Qualcomm’s total application processor shipments, but accounted for the bulk of Qualcomm’s revenue and profit, thanks to high average selling prices.”

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According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Qualcomm was the world’s largest provider of cellular baseband processors with 39% share in the second quarter of this year.  Qualcomm commanded fully 50% share of the 5G baseband market during that time period.  Qualcomm was also the world’s biggest supplier of smartphone application processors with 32% revenue share in the second quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

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Qualcomm’s cellular ecosystem partners had this to say:

  • “Verizon is on the forefront of showcasing the transformative capabilities of 5G Ultra Wideband,” said Nicola Palmer, chief product officer at Verizon. “Qualcomm Technologies’ Snapdragon Tech Summit Digital 2020 is an opportunity to reflect on the successes we’ve had this year, including launching nationwide 5G coverage, dozens of 5G Ultra Wideband cities, MEC deployments, and a multitude of 5G devices and innovations. It also gives us the opportunity to look towards 2021 as we continue to bring the possibilities of 5G to life for businesses, individuals, and society.”
  • “NTT DOCOMO has been a leading mobile innovator in Japan for nearly 30 years and this leadership has continued into the 5G era, as the first operator in Japan to launch commercial 5G service in March this year,” said Naoki Tani, executive vice president and chief technology officer, NTT DOCOMO, INC. “5G enables a new era of mobile experiences that are making people’s lives more convenient and comfortable, and these experiences are being brought to life on the DOCOMO 5G network through our exciting portfolio of 5G devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G mobile platforms. We look forward to the next generation of 5G devices powered by Qualcomm Technologies’ industry-leading Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform to deliver the best experiences on DOCOMO’s 5G network.”
  • “Our work with Qualcomm Technologies is aligned with our mission to make the latest Natural Language Processing technology accessible to researchers and businesses around the globe, and run as fast and efficiently as possible” said Clément Delangue, co-founder and chief executive officer of Hugging Face. “We need our models to run on the most premium of mobile platforms… and that means Qualcomm Snapdragon.”
  • “Xperia smartphones are feature-packed with Sony’s advanced imaging and entertainment technologies, and it’s essential for our products to be powered by the latest premium Snapdragon mobile platform to offer the best-in-class experiences to our fans. One of the entertainment experiences which we are very passionate about is mobile gaming, and we are overwhelmed by the incredible positive response we’ve received from fans around the world for Xperia 1 II and Xperia 5 II,” said Mitsuya Kishida, president, Sony Mobile Communications Inc. “We are committed to further enhancing mobile entertainment in the 5G era and look forward to working closely with Qualcomm Technologies to continue delivering world-class mobile gaming and other experiences on the go.”
  • “In collaboration with Epic Games, the OnePlus 8 Series became the first smartphones to deliver Fortnite at 90 FPS, a groundbreaking mobile gaming achievement made possible by Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming,” said Kyle Kiang, chief marketing officer, OnePlus.
  • “Over the past decade, from the first generation of Xiaomi mobile phones to the 10th anniversary masterpiece Xiaomi 10 series, we have been joining hands together with Qualcomm Technologies to bring the most advanced mobile experiences to users around the world,” said Lei Jun, Founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Xiaomi. “Snapdragon 888 is the most powerful mobile platform from Qualcomm Technologies ever. In addition to the industry leading 5G connectivity, it has brought groundbreaking breakthroughs and innovations in AI, gaming, and camera. I’m glad that our new flagship smartphone Mi11 will be the one of the first devices with Snapdragon 888. This is another cutting-edge product from us and will be loaded with various hardcore technologies.”
  • The following OEMs provided their support for Snapdragon 888, including ASUS, Black Shark, Lenovo, LG, MEIZU, Motorola, Nubia, realme, OnePlus, OPPO, Sharp, vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

This year’s Snapdragon Tech Summit Digital keynotes are being live streamed on Dec 1 and 2 at 7:00 a.m. PST (qualcomm.com/snapdragonsummit). The Qualcomm Twitter handle will have live updates before and during the keynotes. #SnapdragonSummit.

References:

https://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2020/12/01/qualcomm-redefines-premium-snapdragon-tech-summit-digital-2020

 

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Integrates X60 Modem Powering 2021 Flagship, Check Official Response of Partners

https://www.lightreading.com/iot/qualcomm-hopes-snapdragon-888-will-widen-its-5g-lead/d/d-id/765799?

 

2 thoughts on “Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 “5G Mobile Platform” to power nexgen smartphones

  1. I loved reading this outstanding article. Qualcomm will apparently dominate the 5G end point market for quite some time. Doesn’t seem the only other 5G merchant silicon vendor -Mediatek- is even close to the SoC functionality Qualcomm has.

  2. I very much like the valuable information you supply on your articles, especially those like this one that focus on 5G silicon solutions.
    I’ll bookmark the IEEE Techblog and plan to check it frequently. I am sure I will learn a lot of interesting telecom news and analysis right here! Best of luck!

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