Qualcomm has branded its next flagship chip for Android smartphones with a number lucky in Chinese tradition.
It says the Snapdragon 888 will let handsets take high-resolution photos faster than before and perform AI-related tasks more efficiently.
Devices powered by the chip should be on sale by March.
Qualcomm: Android phones to get ‘lucky number’ Snapdragon 888 chip https://t.co/KGa95TSmJi— BBC News Technology (@BBCTech) December 1, 2020
If the firm had followed its previous naming convention, it would have been numbered the 875. One expert suggested the decision had significance.
“It may point to Qualcomm extending an olive branch to those in the industry caught up in the ongoing China-US trade war,” suggested Deborah Petrara from ABI Research.
“888 is regarded by the Chinese as a symbol of fortune and prosperity, which will also undoubtedly chime well with Qualcomm’s expectations of success.”
Over recent months, Huawei has been blocked from getting its own Kirin smartphone chips produced as a result of US restrictions.
California-based Qualcomm was recently given permission to sell its 4G-based chips to Huawei as an alternative.
This would not cover the new chip – which contains an integrated 5G modem. But in time the export rules may be reduced further under the incoming Biden administration.
Qualcomm said other Chinese vendors – including Xiaomi, Oppo, One Plus, Meizu, Nubia, Vivo and ZTE – had already shown “support” for the Snapdragon 888 ahead of announcements of their own.
Qualcomm shows logos of a whole bunch of partners developing phones with the Snapdragon 888 #SnapdragonSummit – all but two are Chinese. So that ‘888, lucky in China’ thing is important! pic.twitter.com/qKMR3WSPtU— Sascha Segan (@saschasegan) December 1, 2020
One concern for Qualcomm is that if anti-US sentiment grows, handset manufacturers might switch to alternative chip designers.
Taiwan’s MediaTek and its Dimensity chips and South Korea’s Samsung and its Exynos processors would be the main options.