Some Chinese smartphone makers, among them Xiaomi and Oppo, have announced that their new phone models will use the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm’s newly-released 5G processor featuring a X60 modem and the chipmaker’s sixth-gen AI Engine. Huawei and its former brand Honor are absent from that list, as the US government is still keeping up the pressure.
The California-headquartered chip manufacturer released the Snapdragon 888 at a virtual summit on December 1. As the latest iteration of its 8-series chipset, the Snapdragon 888 sports a X60 modem that supports both sub-6GHz bands and mmWave. The AI Engine delivers a better performance and power efficiency for AI applications. Devices that carry the new chip will be capable of delivering an improved gaming experience, underpinned by Qualcomm’s third-gen Elite Gaming platform. Smartphone cameras will benefit, as the chip enables them to capture photos at 2.7 gigapixels per second.
Among the brands that already signed up for it is Oppo, which is poised to launch the next Find X series in the first quarter of 2021. “For a long time, Oppo and Qualcomm Technologies have shared a close relationship,” said vice president Alen Wu Qiang. “We share similar visions in our pursuit of an ultimate mobile experience.”
Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun posted on Weibo on Tuesday night that its new flagship model Mi 11 will carry the Snapdragon 888. Other brands, including Realme, OnePlus, Vivo, and Nubia, have been developing Snapdragon 888-enabled devices, without detailing the release time.
Qualcomm’s long-time partner Huawei isn’t among the early adopters, since Qualcomm hasn’t obtained a license to provide 5G equipment to the blacklisted Huawei. Honor, Huawei’s former budget smartphone subsidiary and now a separate company, has been in talks, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said, when approached after the summit.
Qualcomm estimates that the global shipment of 5G smartphones will reach 450 million to 550 million units in 2021 and cross 750 million in 2022.