Rumors Claim a 4G Snapdragon 888 Is on the Way, but for Whom?

By Bill Toulas / March 9, 2021

There are rumors coming from supposedly credible sources claiming that a 4G variant of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 is on the way. This is supposedly carrying the model number "SM8350" and has no integrated 5G modem. In addition to that, and according to the same leaker, the new chip is going to be manufactured by Samsung, and it will feature some new stuff which will be the direct results of a newly-surfacing partnership between Qualcomm and Leica.

So, who is this new chip for? Obviously, it is for smartphone photography enthusiasts first and foremost. Qualcomm’s flagship-tier Snapdragon 888 features some ground-breaking imaging technologies, such as an upgraded triple Spectra 580 ISP that enables the simultaneous capturing of three 28 MP photos or three 4K HDR videos.

Leica, the German camera and lenses expert, is seeing its partnership with Huawei fading as the Chinese are gradually pushed outside the ring of relevance, so they may be seeking a new partnership to cash in their knowledge in the field of imaging. Qualcomm is definitely a strong candidate for such a cahoot to flourish.

Of course, we can’t write off that chip for mobile gamers, as it is obviously a beast in terms of performance. However, 5G is considered an integral part of the whole “cloud gaming” thing that is being aggressively promoted right now, even if it hasn’t taken off yet. Also, considering that the 5G variant of the 888 is now to be found in devices like the Realme GT, which costs only $430, one has to wonder how much lower could things be pushed before they start cannibalizing all mid-tier chips.

We must not disregard the importance of not offering 5G in 2021, as most consumers would have a tough time making the decision to buy a 4G device. So, no matter its capabilities and sheer power, a 4G 888 chip would be a very niche product. To give you another example, it could power some non-cellular tablets too.

Since the leaker hasn’t even clarified whether there is any integrated modem into SM8350, we may even see implementations having no mobile internet modem at all. This would be a forbidding thing for any smartphone, but not for tablets or home-bound ARM-based mini computers. For now, we’ll have to stick with assumptions until Qualcomm gives us something official.

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