All information about Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 898: New top chip for smartphone flagships

Qualcomm will soon introduce the next top chipset Snapdragon 895 or 898. But how strong will it be and which phones will it get?

Despite growing pressure from MediaTek and smartphone makers like Samsung and Apple to make their own chips, Qualcomm will continue to be the main player when it comes to chipsets that work in the flagship Android smartphones. And so it won’t be any different with the next Snapdragon 895 or 898. Even if the name has not yet been determined, leaks already give clues as to the type of chip. Here is everything we know so far.

When will the next Snapdragon be unveiled?

Qualcomm traditionally announces its Snapdragon flagships at the Snapdragon Summit, which the company holds every December in Hawaii. Even last year, at the height of the Covid pandemic, the event was held in December to unveil the Snapdragon 888 – but this time it was held online. We don’t know what this year will be like. But it seems certain again that Qualcomm will reveal the chip shortly before Christmas 2021.

Snapdragon 895 or Snapdragon 898?

As mentioned earlier, there is some confusion about the chipset name. Since 2017 the chips have been called Snapdragon 835, 845, 855, 865 … and most recently 888. So the pattern so far.

So we’re not sure if Qualcomm is going back to its old ways and naming this chip “895” or just adding ten more chips from last year and using the name 898. So far, the leakers have disagreed, although there is at least a broad consensus that the model number will be SM8450 – a reasonable jump compared to last year’s SM8350. The internal code name is apparently “Waipio” and is named after a Hawaiian valley and village.

Of course, it is also possible that Qualcomm will change the names completely. The renaming of the Snapdragon 888 was supposed to reflect what Qualcomm saw as a significant leap in performance over the past year, but it hasn’t left the company much leeway in naming the 8-series.

With this in mind, it is possible that the company will unveil the first 9-series chip – or change its naming system more drastically to create more room for future growth.

Which phones will the Snapdragon 898 use?

It is actually faster to list the major smartphone manufacturers who will not be releasing a Snapdragon 898 cell phone than those who do: Apple, Google, of course, are not relying on the Snapdragon, as the switch to their own chip production for this year Pixel 6 is likely to go on, and Huawei as it’s still restricted by the US trade ban.

Any other manufacturer you can think of will likely use the chip in at least one new device built in 2022. It is also believed that Samsung will use the chip in the Galaxy Tab S8 series. Rumor has it that the Redmi K50 Pro will also use this chip, while the Xiaomi 12 series will almost certainly support the chip, as last year’s Mi 11 was the first smartphone announced to use the Snapdragon 888.

A senior Lenovo executive has already confirmed on Chinese social media network Weibo that there are plans to launch SM8450 phones under both the Lenovo and Motorola brands, with the first coming in 2021 target.

What are the specs of the next Snapdragon?

Understandably, the specifications of the Snapdragon are far from being true, but a few important details can be crystallized. Initially, the chip is expected to be manufactured in a 4nm process, an upgrade from the 5nm form factor used last year. That should mean improved energy efficiency and performance. According to the leaker

Ice Universe
the chip will be made by Samsung. The competitor TSMC will take over the production of the successor model “+”, which normally comes onto the market six months later.

In any case, the architecture should be based on the latest Armv9 standard.

predicts the following components:

It is the CPU that usually gets the most attention. The usually reliable Leaker Digital Chat Station predicted the specific cores as follows:

  • 1 x Cortex-X2 @ 3.0GHz

  • 3 x 2.50GHz

  • 4 x 1.79GHz

That looks pretty likely – not least because these exact clock rates can be seen in a Geekbench 5 entry for a Samsung device that is said to contain the chip with the code name “Taro”. The listing also mentions the Adreno 730, although oddly enough the CPU version is mentioned as ARMv8 – not v9.

However, there are still some uncertainties with the clock rates. For one thing, Ice Universe says they saw an 898 with an X2 core that clocks at 3.09 GHz, which is faster than the above numbers, and for another, there’s another Geekbench 5 listing with the same chip -Codename “Taro”. This is used for an unknown Vivo device and also mentions the Adreno 730, but indicates lower clock rates: 2.42 GHz for the main core, 2.17 GHz for the large cores and 1.79 GHz for the small cores. Of course, this could just be a lower clocked prototype.

A note on these two benchmarks: the results are low. One shouldn’t read too much into it, however, as these results come from prototype devices in the early stages of testing – hence the different clock speeds – and it is therefore likely that the end product will be much more powerful.

A final drawback concerns the chip’s camera performance. Roland Quandt from WinFuture reports that the new camera module bears the internal code name “Leica1” – an allusion to the well-known camera manufacturer who also lends its name to the camera technology of Huawei cell phones. He cautiously points out that nothing is secure, but it at least suggests a partnership where Leica could bring its camera expertise to the image processing capabilities of the Snapdragon ISP.

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