Your next Android smartphone has even faster 5G, better battery life thanks to Qualcomm


Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 model will be in 5G devices in the first quarter of 2021.


Here’s the chip that will run most high-end 5G phones next year: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. And in its high-end offering, Qualcomm has now, for the first time, integrated its 5G modem into the same chip as brains, AI and other processor features that are likely to increase the battery life of 5G phones.

Smartphones require a lot of components to work, but two key parts that make a phone a phone are the application processor, which acts as the brain of a device, and a modem that connects it to the mobile network. The first 5G devices required stand-alone modems that operated alongside the main computing processor. This was because 5G technology was so new that it was too hard to combine with your brain.

Recent years The Snapdragon also had a stand-alone 865 modem, while Qualcomm integrated the 5G connection with the processor system mid-range Snapdragon 765 and 765G systems on a single chip or SoCs. Many expected Qualcomm’s highest-end chip to be the first Snapdragon SoC with an integrated modem, but the company then said that if it didn’t return the modem or application processor functionality, the resulting chip would be too large and too large. hungry for high-end smartphones. Qualcomm has decided not to compromise on any of its high-end phones, but has been willing to compromise on the mid-range chipset.

The Snapdragon 865 paired with the X55 modem to power high-end 5G phones released in 2020, starting with listing the Samsung Galaxy S20.

With the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm will return to the strengths of SoC and benefit phone users. The biggest benefits of SoCs are better battery life and lower costs. Instead of two chips taking up space in the phone, there is only one that offers thinner, cleaner phones or more space for larger batteries. With an integrated chip, device manufacturers can also quickly upgrade phones to virtually any 5G network in the world, making 5G handsets cheaper for consumers.

“It gives you everything you need in one package and theoretically makes phone design easier, cheaper and just more integrated,” said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at Technalysis Research.

The continued evolution of 5G is more critical than ever when the coronavirus has radically changed our world. People get stuck at home and keep their distance from each other and force them to rely on home broadband service – which can boost 5G. Boasting 10-100 times the speed of 4G and 10-100 times the fire risk of 4G, next-generation cellular technology can improve everything from simple video conferencing to telemedicine and advanced augmented and virtual reality. Gaming is an area that is expected to benefit from 5G’s responsiveness and fast speed.

Qualcomm is hosting a two-day virtual Tech Summit instead of the annual monthly monthly event. Instead of releasing a flood of new chips and news, the company is focusing its digital event on the capabilities of the Snapdragon 888. On Wednesday, technical deep dives will be showcased in features such as the Snapdragon 888 camera.

Improvements to 5G

The world may be struggling with a widespread epidemic, but it sure doesn’t slow down the introduction of 5G. Ericsson reported Monday that super-fast technology has reached more customers this year and will cover about 60% of the world’s population by 2026. That puts 5G into the fastest mobile network ever deployed, the Swedish network giant said.

By the end of this year, there will be 218 million 5G subscriptions worldwide, compared to Ericsson’s forecast of 190 million in June – which was itself an increase over a previous estimate.

Many people use phones powered by Qualcomm processors. Even the new iPhone 12 lineup, which uses Apple ‘s own application processor, relies on Qualcomm modems to connect to 5G networks.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 will focus on four areas: 5G, artificial intelligence, gaming and the camera, said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president of mobile, computing and infrastructure at Qualcomm, in an interview ahead of Tuesday’s news.

“It really rounds out all the uses and capabilities of the device,” Katouzian said. “We focused on the really basic technologies of low power computing as well as communication.”

The integrated modem for Qualcomm X60, which can download data at speeds of up to 7.5 Gbps or upload information at speeds of up to 3 Gbps. The modem, unveiled in February, uses super-fast but unreliable millimeter-wave radio waves favored by Verizon, as well as a slower and more stable sub-6 spectrum that is preferred by virtually every other carrier in the world. It supports a number of features that allow for higher speeds and other network benefits.

“On the 5G side, communication capabilities will be much better,” Katouzian said.

While peak download speeds aren’t much faster than the previous generation, the X60 aims to increase the average speed of devices by aggregating different types of wireless signals. The X60 is able to aggregate slower 6 subnets with the faster mmWave spectrum, increasing overall performance.

The X60 increases network capacity and expands coverage. Network operators are able to double the peak speed below 6 in stand-alone mode (here the phone goes straight to 5G instead of today’s non-stand-alone networks, where 4G acts as an anchor to connect the device to a 5G connection between the phone and the network before the initial handshake forwarded).

T-Mobile is a service provider that will benefit from the aggregation of service providers. Users of the earliest T-Mobile 5G phones did not see much faster speeds than the 4G connection. But when T-Mobile can combine different radio waves, users need to achieve faster download and upload speeds. This year’s modem for 5G phones, the X55, couldn’t aggregate that spectrum.

“The X60 is truly the first modem to do all the 5G stuff you really need,” Technalysis ’O’Donnell said. Qualcomm “now really has a modem that can be used more successfully to get the best 5G speed possible”.

And AI, gaming and camera

When it comes to artificial intelligence, the Snapdragon 888 features Qualcomm’s new sixth-generation AI engine. Qualcomm has redesigned its Hexagon processor, which it says represents a “key leap in AI” over previous technology. It improves performance and energy efficiency and collects data at 26 tera operations per second, or TOPS. Qualcomm has also included the second-generation Sensing Hub, which features lower-performance, always-on AI processing.

AI “supports so many different applications that [are] it is very widely used today, “including photography and videography, Katouzian said.” In fact, that’s all you need [out] all the headaches that used to be to select the right parameters, put them in the right mode, to provide the right lighting, even to recognize scenes and faces, backgrounds and depth. All of this is provided by the capabilities of artificial intelligence. “

And the Snapdragon 888 features a faster Spectra image processor that allows users to take photos at 2.7 gigapixels per second. This is approx. Equivalent to 120 seconds of images at 12MP resolution, up to 35% faster than the previous generation.

“It’s huge,” Katouzian said. “When that ability shows up, people start [develop] various applications and services. “This could include, for example, extremely live video conferencing, or giving users the opportunity to take photos of what they’re doing all day and share them with others on social media,” he said.


Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile, computing and infrastructure at Qualcomm, is discussing some of the companies that will use the new Snapdragon 888 processor.


The camera allows you to take better low-light and night photos, as well as actions that move very fast – or very slowly. By combining AI and camera, the phone automatically knows which setting to choose for each condition, and users don’t have to “worry about technical details,” Katouzian said.

The processor also features Qualcomm’s third-generation Snapdragon Elite Gaming technology, which enhances the video effects of mobile effects.

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 is expected to power most high-end Android phones next year. The companies that plan to use the Snapdragon 888 in the devices, Asus, Black shark, LG, Meizu, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi and ZTE.

“I am delighted that our new Mi11 smartphone will be the first device with the Snapdragon 888,” Xia Jun, CEO of Xiaomi, said in a press release. “It’s another cutting-edge product from us and will be filled with a variety of hard technologies.”

Qualcomm didn’t specifically name Samsung, but the next Galaxy S devices are likely to include the Snapdragon 888 when it hits the market early next year. The first phone on which last year’s Snapdragon was 865 was Galaxy S20.