One of the biggest surprises for smartphone lovers this year wasn’t the almighty Snapdragon 888 chip. In fact, it was its lesser sibling, i.e., the Snapdragon 870. Despite having 5G connectivity, this chip allows OEMs to offer flagship-levels of performance at much lower prices (the Redmi K40 is a prime example). However, Qualcomm wants to aim for cheaper phones with another affordable chip in the making.
Based on a leak from reputed tipster Roland Quandt, Qualcomm could be working on a low-end derivative of the Snapdragon 888 chip. While the specifics are not yet revealed, Quandt says this chip will skip the 5G modem. This could mean smartphone brands may be able to deliver the performance of Qualcomm’s latest chip without incurring its sky-high prices. Is this indicative of a Snapdragon 888 Lite?
Snapdragon 888 with no 5G modem in the works
As of now, there’s no concrete evidence on this 4G-based iteration of the Snapdragon 888. Our assumption lies on Qualcomm positioning the Snapdragon 888 non-5G as an alternative to the more popular Snapdragon 870 with 5G. This could help brands like Poco and Motorola bring down prices of their “flagship killers” to an even lower price point.
Additionally, a Snapdragon 888 with no 5G modem could bring down costs in countries with no 5G coverage. Hence, users can get the same top-notch performance without paying an extra for the 5G connectivity.
We are yet to see how much do phones with the Snapdragon 870 end up costing on competitive markets like India. The Motorola Edge S from China with the Snapdragon 870 chip starts at a lowly price of approximately Rs 23,000. The same stands for Xiaomi’s Redmi K40, despite having a 5G-enabled chipset.
The main question is: will Qualcomm phase out a cheaper high-performance 5G chip in favour of a more capable 4G 2021 flagship-grade chip? That’s something for Qualcomm to answer. The Snapdragon 888 has so far proven its worth in a limited number of premium Android smartphones and we assume its 4G sibling won’t be any different.
As of now, India is yet to get any smartphone utilizing the Snapdragon 888 chip. OnePlus could be the brand to debut this chip in India with its upcoming OnePlus 9 series. Xiaomi is also expected to bring its Mi 11 flagship to India while Oppo and Vivo are expected to follow. The Asus ROG Phone 5 will also come to India soon.