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Snapdragon 888 release date: Qualcomm renames next-gen chip for 2021 premium Android smartphones under new name

Photo credit: Qualcomm Snapdragon / YouTube screenshot

Qualcomm officially announced its next-generation 5G mobile platform for premium Android smartphones. Many anticipated it to be named Snapdragon 875, but the chip maker surprised fans by slightly bending its tradition by branding the chipset as Snapdragon 888.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 name change has business implications, analysts suggest

As expected, Qualcomm’s upcoming mobile platform for the next premium Android smartphones was the star of the Snapdragon Tech Summit on Tuesday. However, the company had a small surprise after what many thought would be named Snapdragon 875 turned out to be Snapdragon 888.

The number 888 is believed to be a lucky number in Chinese tradition, but that might not be the only reason Qualcomm chose this new name. Experts believe Qualcomm may have also considered how this would affect their deals with their business partners, many of which are tech companies based in China.

Analyst Sascha Segan pointed out that 12 out 14 smartphone makers that Qualcomm mentioned during the summit are Chinese companies. ABI Research’s Deborah Petrara told BBC, “It may point to Qualcomm extending an olive branch to those in the industry caught up in the ongoing China-US trade war.”

Snapdragon 888 amends Snapdragon 865 letdown

Many were a little frustrated when Qualcomm announced Snapdragon 865 last year without a built-in 5G modem at a time when all smartphone manufacturers have been launching their first 5G-enabled smartphones. But that only makes the launch of Snapdragon 888 even more important as the chipmaker confirmed it will ship with the Qualcomm X60 modem. This means devices with the chipset will support a 5G mmWave network.

What Android smartphones would be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 888?

Qualcomm gave a shout-out to the companies that they confirmed are already developing next-gen smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 888. The current list includes ASUS, Black Shark, Lenovo, LG, Meizu, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

Xiaomi has already confirmed that its next flagship, the Xiaomi Mi 11, is slated to be the first-ever smartphone to launch with Snapdragon 888. Xiaomi has already teased a “world debut” for the upcoming device but left out other information and only told its fans to “stay tuned.” However, it has been reported that the Mi 11 could be launched as soon as January 2021. Note that the Mi 9 and Mi 10 series were both announced in February in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

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