Qualcomm has officially announced its next generation flagship processor for telephones – the Snapdragon 865 – but it still needs a separate (and optional) modem to enable 5G instead of an integrated 5G modem built into the chipset.
Announced in addition to the 865 is the other new processor from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 765, which will function integrated 5G. However, it will be part of a less powerful processor than the 865, which is likely to drive the next wave of Android flagships in 2020.
Since February Qualcomm has been teasing Snapdragon chips with integrated 5G modems. It even confirmed on IFA 2019 that it would offer a 700-series processor with integrated 5G. But it is still strange that Qualcomm would choose the less powerful chip that would serve as its first integrated 5G product, leaving the next-generation mobile standard as an optional part of its top-class 865 model.
Instead, the Snapdragon 865 offers 5G support in the same way as the current 855. Manufacturers can add a separate 5G modem (in this case, the second-generation X55 model). But 5G is not included as standard, simply because you have the newest and best Qualcomm chipset.
All in all, it is a mixed bag for the still early days of the 5G rollout. With the 765 offering integrated 5G directly out of the box, this means that we are finally going to see a number of mid-range 5G phones (not just ultra-high-end). On the other hand, this means that phone manufacturers such as Samsung still have to do their best to add 5G to their best phones. And if it is something like 2019, it means even more expensive, limited models instead of a broad acceptance of 5G.
As tradition has become for the annual Snapdragon Tech Summit from Qualcomm, the hard details about the two new processors will not come on the keynote on December 4, but the announcement of new Qualcomm processors is a big problem. Almost every major Android phone uses Qualcomm processors from the 800 series, which means that everything that Qualcomm announces for the 865 will also be an example of what can be expected from 2020 phones such as the Galaxy S11, OnePlus 8, Pixel 5, Galaxy Note 10, LG G9, and more.
We will have additional information about the Snapdragon 865 and 765 tomorrow as the Snapdragon Tech Summit continues, so come back soon for more information.