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FILE PHOTO: Qualcomm and 5G logos are seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Qualcomm and 5G logos are seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. (REUTERS)

Qualcomm announces flagship Snapdragon 888 chip with integrated 5G modem

  • The company had faced widespread criticism last year for not offering an integrated modem
  • Qualcomm had earlier announced a partnership with Indian telco, Reliance Jio, to power 5G networks based on OpenRAN technology.

Chipmaker Qualcomm, today, announced its newest chipset for smartphones. The Snapdragon 888 will run on flagship phones in 2021 and has a new 5G modem from the company. Unlike last year, the Qualcomm X60 is an integrated modem, meaning manufacturers won’t have to add a separate modem chip on phones.

The company had faced widespread criticism last year for not offering an integrated modem. While the company didn’t integrate the modem into its Snapdragon 865 (last year’s flagship chip), it didn’t offer manufacturers the choice to use different and cheaper modems with the processor. This, in turn, raised prices of smartphones using the chip last year.

The Snapdragon 888 is built on the 5nm fabrication process, which promises more efficient performance. Real world boosts should be meager though, which has been the case with most smartphone processors in recent years. The 5G modem supports both millimetre wave and sub-6 GHz 5G bands.

While Qualcomm hasn’t revealed its entire roadmap for the year ahead yet, the Snapdragon 888 will be used by companies like Asus, Samsung, OnePlus and more.

The company is also promising better artificial intelligence processing, with a new version of its Hexagon digital signal processor. Image processing should also get a boost with the new chip, the company claims. The new image signal processor can shoot about 120 photos per second at 12MP resolution, said Qualcomm during a virtual keynote for its yearly Snapdragon Tech Summit.

The company had earlier announced a partnership with Indian telco, Reliance Jio, to power 5G networks based on OpenRAN technology. The new chip will likely support the same, and should be seen on most flagship-class smartphones in India next year. Chinese smartphone maker Realme has already announced plans to be one of the first to use the chipset. Realme said the Snapdragon 888 will be used on a phone that’s codenamed “Race" right now.

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