All the signs are that the as-yet-unannounced Qualcomm Snapdragon 898 is going to be the top-end processor to beat when it comes to Android smartphones in 2022 – and we just learned which manufacturers might be first to market with handsets powered by the new chips.
According to well-known tipster Digital Chat Station (via Phandroid), both Xiaomi and Motorola are battling it out to get their Snapdragon 898 devices out in front of buyers before anyone else, and these phones could make an appearance before the end of the year (even if on-sale dates are a few weeks later).
Moto’s Snapdragon 898 machine is also confirmed to debut at the end of the year. It is said that they are still preparing to cooperate with Xiaomi grabs the start...November 5, 2021
That's pretty much as expected for Xiaomi – the Xiaomi Mi 11 was the first handset to debut the Snapdragon 888 remember – but the mention of Motorola, a manufacturer better known for its budget devices, is a little more surprising.
What happens next?
It's a good bet that the Xiaomi 12 will be the Xiaomi phone that comes carrying the Snapdragon 898 processor. We're expecting it to make an appearance very early in 2022, or perhaps right at the end of 2021, around a year after its predecessor made its debut.
Motorola's plans are harder to work out. We've heard rumors about a Moto G200, but that's expected to come running the older Snapdragon 888, and while Motorola also tends to refresh its other G series phones in January each year, they're expected to be more affordable, mid-range devices.
All we can really do at this point is sit tight and see how the release schedule unfolds. The Samsung Galaxy S22 series is also expected to feature the Snapdragon 898 chipset in some regions, but the rumor is that we won't see those phones until later on in 2022.
Analysis: should we care about the Snapdragon 898?
The big question around the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 898 is just how much extra performance it's going to offer over the Snapdragon 888 – and how much faster we can expect the flagship Android smartphones of 2022 to be as a result.
Well-respected leaker Ice Universe has just posted some unofficial benchmarks for the Snapdragon 898 processor, suggesting that we're going to get a chipset that's around 15% speedier than the one that's been in use this year. Take that figure with a pinch of salt though, as it's likely that the silicon still needs to be optimized further.
Back in September, we came across some leaked specs for the Snapdragon 898, pointing to a 4 nanometer process being used for the chip. That should guarantee better performance and a lower power drawer than the 5 nanometer process used for the Snapdragon 888 and the Snapdragon 888 Plus.
Given Apple is struggling to make 3nm chips, and might be forced to stick with the still-efficient 4nm options, it makes sense the new Snapdragon will at least match the power and performance in terms of design.
It shouldn't be too much longer before the Snapdragon 898 is official, because Qualcomm usually unveils its latest processors at the end of the year in December. As always, we'll bring you all the key announcements just as soon as they're made.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.