Snapdragon 888 with optional 5G means cheaper flagships could be on the way

Qualcomm is working on a third flagship chipset for 2021.

What you need to know

  • A variant of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 is reportedly in the works.
  • This new chip will have an optional 5G modem instead of an integrated one like the Snapdragon 888.
  • An optional 5G modem could make room for cheaper flagship smartphones with 4G LTE.

Qualcomm seems set on having a chipset for every possible price point it can think of. Two flagship chips have already been launched under the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 and the repurposed Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, but rumors indicate that there may be a third flagship SoC in the works, thanks to a tweet from known leaker Roland Quandt.

According to Quandt, this new model is a „lower-end derivative of the Snapdragon 888“ that lacks an integrated 5G modem, meaning that OEMs have the option to launch 4G LTE versions of flagship smartphones.

The new chipset will likely sit between the Snapdragon 888 and 870 since the latter is more or less an overclocked Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 which powered last year’s best Android phones. This could mean a much wider variety of flagship smartphones could be on the way this year, from premium high-end to more affordable models. This will also enable flagship smartphones to launch at lower prices in countries that may not have a strong 5G presence, so buyers won’t have to pay a premium for a feature they can’t use.

The news also comes on the heels of the rumored Snapdragon 775 SoC which was reportedly spotted recently. This chipset would be the successor to last year’s popular Qualcomm Snapdragon 765, a chip that powered many of the best cheap Android phones and some flagship models like the Google Pixel 5. The addition of this chip would essentially give manufacturers four different flagship SoCs to choose from.


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