It wouldn't be summer without another Plus chip from Qualcomm, and this year you're getting one slightly early. Qualcomm has introduced the Snapdragon 888 Plus, a souped-up version of (what else?) the base 888 from late last year. The 888 Plus includes the obligatory clock speed boost from a peak 2.86GHz to nearly 3GHz, but it also throws in an upgraded AI engine that promises more than a 20 percent performance boost for tasks like camera effects and noise cancellation.
You can otherwise expect the familiar Kryo 680 CPU architecture and Adreno 660 graphics. The X60 modem still tops out at 7.5Gbps, although that's not exactly an issue when even the fastest current 5G connections won't come close to taxing Qualcomm's hardware.
As with last year's 865 Plus, it's really all about the companies building the chip into their devices. Qualcomm already has a string of high-profile customers lined up for the Snapdragon 888 Plus, including ASUS' next ROG Phone, Honor's Magic 3, at least one Motorola device as well as handsets from Vivo and Xiaomi. We also wouldn't rule out phones from other major customers, such as Samsung's possible foldable phone updates.
The first phones using the Snapdragon 888 Plus are due to ship sometime in the third quarter of the year. The improvements won't have you regretting that ROG Phone 5 purchase (or any other 888-based phone, really), but they will ensure that Android phones in the back half of 2021 will use Qualcomm's absolute latest technology.