Qualcomm presented its new flagship processor for the next mobiles premium Android and as always the Snapdragon 888 brings several improvements over the 865, as well as the unexpected number change, which just happens to be 888.
Admittedly, Qualcomm never followed the same pattern for naming its chips, but with the latest versions (from 835), it always increases with a multiple of 10. By skipping 23 numbers, the chipset Snapdragon is entering a new era.
So why 888? The most logical answer is that it is China. Their culture places particular emphasis on numbers. OnePlus went from 3Q to 5 because the number “4” looks too much like the word “death” in Chinese, for example. Number 8 is also very superstitious. “888” translates to triple chance, and it is very good luck according to Chinese numerology.
But if the respect for Chinese superstitions makes sense for OnePlus, Qualcomm is an American company, which makes the choice of “888” for the digital system of its Snapdragon curious.
While it is true that there are some great Spandragon terminals from China, the Snapdragon 8 processor series has been more traditionally included in the more powerful US phones from Samsung, LG and Google, and we believe that will continue. to be for the next generation. lice or fleas.
This may not be the case. While Qualcomm’s announcement mentioned that the 888 “will drive the smartphones
Although they might want to wait to announce it, everything indicates that Qualcomm has lost its biggest partner.
Exynos enters the scene
The Snapdragon 888 is surely the best processor Qualcomm has ever designed, at least on paper. In addition to improving performance by 25% and having 35% faster graphics compared to the 865, it incorporates a 3rd generation Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF system, which “will deliver the fastest 5G speeds on the market.” , up to 7.5 Gbps ”and will allow better management of heat and electricity.
It also includes “the greatest architectural advance in artificial intelligence” with the sixth generation Qualcomm AI engine, as well as the ISP Spetra 580, the first to feature a triple image signal processor capable of capturing three photos or more. 4K HDR videos at once. same time.
And you will also have security improvements, the game and OLED, as well as Wi-Fi 6th support and “a new class of clear, reliable and responsive audio”.
These are features and improvements that would make the Galaxy S21 amazing, but this year it looks like Samsung might not be for work. It’s not just that the company wasn’t a part of Qualcomm’s announcement. Samsung has yet to announce its next-generation flagship Exynos processor, which usually arrives in the fall, ahead of Qualcomm’s new chip.
Supposedly called the Exynos 2100, it looks like Samsung has redesigned the chip with its own AMD Radeon GPU and the same Cortex-X1 processor from the 888.
Everyone knows that Samsung typically h as problems achieving the power efficiency and graphics that Qualcomm offers with its 8-series chips, but if the company has managed to fix them with the 2100, things are changing.
Qualcomm’s conditions and prices were strict on the 854, making terminals more premium
If these assumed specifications are true, the Exynos plus chip premium from Samsung, which we already find in many flagship phones in other markets, would continue to compete directly with the newer and more powerful Qualcomm processor.
And if so, it could be prepared for such a demanding audience as the American and could pull Qualcomm out of the Galaxy flagship lineup for good, which would be a major drawback for the chipmaker.
In a hurry from all sides
At the beginning of the year, Google surprised by making the Pixel 5 a mid-range mobile and not a mobile premiumopting for the slightly slower Snapdragon 765G ahead of the 865 to keep costs down. Google will likely decide to do the same in 2021, provided Qualcomm announces its successor before Google launches the Pixel 6 next fall.
That could leave LG and OnePlus the only major 888 makers in America, with the G9 ThinQ and 9 Pro respectively. They are good mobiles, but they both probably depend a lot on carriers.
LG has stopped offering free phones with the wing, giving operators absolute control over the price, bloatware and updates. And OnePlus has an uneven relationship with US carriers other than T-Mobile, although one of the OnePlus 2020 mobiles supports Verizon’s mmWave networks.
And if the next Exynos chip is as good as it looks, it could put even more pressure on Qualcomm. Samsung has already licensed its chips for Motorola phones, and it is rumored that the next ones are Oppo and Xiaomi.
While these phones are most likely low-end to begin with, it shows a growing rift between Qualcomm and Samsung, which until recently were partners in the design and manufacture of the chip.
If Samsung can manage to offer similar speeds at a lower price, Qualcomm’s dominance among cell phone makers like LG and Sony could start to wane.
We’ve already seen what Apple can do with its own chip, so Qualcomm has something to worry about. Obviously, until Samsung announces the Galaxy S21, we won’t know what chip is inside, but it looks like it won’t be the Snapdragon 888.
Even if it did, it’s clear that Qualcomm is increasingly looking to China to sell its chips. premium. And its earnings don’t seem to depend on the power and price of the Snapdragon 888, but on Samsung.
Original article published in PCWorld US.