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Sketchy rumors abound for a 'Snapdragon 888 Pro' that would be 4G-only
- Several leakers posit that there could be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Pro on the way.
- The chip would allegedly be as powerful as the regular SD888, but 4G-only. However, some rumored specs suggest it could be more like an SD888 Plus.
- A 4G-only variant of the SD888 would be good news for HUAWEI, as a chip like that could circumvent the US HUAWEI ban.
Over the past few years, Qualcomm has adopted a popular habit we see with some smartphone OEMs of updating flagships in the second half of the year. The first time we saw this, it was for the Snapdragon 855 Plus. Last year, it was the Snapdragon 865 Plus. So what’s going to happen this year?
Related: Snapdragon SoC guide: All of Qualcomm’s smartphone processors explained
According to several leakers, things could be different. Allegedly, there could be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Pro on the way. However, the rumors are confusing and, in some cases, conflicting, so please do take all this information with some skepticism.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Pro — or Plus? Or both?
The most prominent leaker pushing this rumor is Digital Chat Station (via MyFixGuide). DCS says that Qualcomm is prepping to release a 4G-only version of the Snapdragon 888 with the model number SM8350. However, SM8350 is the model number of the SD888, so it’s likely there’s more to the model number, such as letters (the SD865 Plus was SM8250-AB, for example). Allegedly, this chip would be ideal for areas of the world in which 5G is unavailable. It would also be ideal for HUAWEI because the lack of 5G would likely allow the chip to skirt through the United States government’s HUAWEI ban. DCS and multiple other leakers claim that HUAWEI could launch this chipset within the upcoming HUAWEI P50 series.
Interestingly, the various leakers suggest this chipset could be branded as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Pro, even though it would be 4G-only. The reasoning for this would be that the chip could be an overclocked version of the SD888, but with 5G access removed.
See also: History of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series: World-class Android processors
Of course, an overclocked version of the SD888 would more than likely be a Snapdragon 888 Plus, which Qualcomm has done regularly now. Confusingly, leakers also suggest that an SM8450 could also be in the works and suggest it would be the Snapdragon 888 Plus. However, this is also unlikely because the SM8450 model number is almost certainly reserved for the true follow-up to the SD888 (SD889, maybe?).
In other words, it’s possible Qualcomm has two updated versions of the SD888 on the way: a Plus and a Pro. One (or both?) of them could be 4G-only.
Honestly, this sounds like a lot of information getting lost in translation (most of these leakers are from China). If we had to guess, it’s possible there could be an overclocked 4G-only SD888 to land as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus and a 5G-powered version that lands as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Pro. That would make the most sense from a branding perspective.
Obviously, with the ongoing global chip shortage, it’s very possible Qualcomm would need to curb its ambitions for multiple chipset launches this year. We’ll need to wait to see how this pans out.