Forward-looking: At MWC 2021 today, Qualcomm announced it's updating its flagship mobile SoC by increasing the CPU clock of the "biggest core" and using the company's 6th generation AI engine. Expected to release in the third quarter of 2021, the Snapdragon 888+ will be featured in high-end phones of Asus, Honor, Motorola, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC only made it to phones earlier this year, but the company is already revealing a successor. Announced at this week's MWC 2021 in Barcelona, the new Snapdragon 888+ shares most of the specs with the 888, but a few improvements make it stand slightly above its predecessor.

For each new flagship SoC that Qualcomm releases, there's always some performance increase to expect although in this instance it's a fairly mild change. The Snapdragon 888+ bumps the CPU clock of the Cortex X1 core by 5.2%, from 2.84GHz to 2.995GHz. The frequency of the remaining Cortex A78 and A55 cores are unchanged.

Qualcomm is also debuting a new 6th generation AI engine with the release of the Snapdragon 888+. The new engine offer about 20% more performance due to the increase of TOPS AI units, from 26 to 32.

The rest of the specifications remain unchanged, which means the Snapdragon 888+ features the same X60 5G modem, Adreno 660 GPU, and the same camera sensors and LPDDR5 memory controller found on the 888 SoC.

The release of the Snapdragon 888+ falls within Qualcomm typical release cadence. Since the release of the 855 SoC, the company has been announcing the new numbered flagship at the end of the year, followed by a refresh in the summer. Considering the Snapdragon 888 was announced in December 2020, it seems reasonable to expect devices sporting the 888+ SoC in the third quarter of 2021.