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Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 expected to arrive in 5G and non-5G variants

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865-powered smartphones are not expected to launch until 2020 but the San Diego-based chipmaker might be planning big changes.

  • Published: May 6, 2019 12:39 PM IST
Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 Modem intext

Qualcomm is expected to launch Snapdragon 865 mobile platform, its successor to Snapdragon 855 at the end of this year. The leaks so far indicate it is being developed with code-name SM8250 by the San Diego-based chipmaker. While Qualcomm usually launches only one variant of its flagship mobile platform that could change this year with the launch of Snapdragon 865. At Mobile World Congress 2019, Qualcomm confirmed that its next generation Snapdragon mobile platform will come with 5G built-in but there is a possibility that the company might offer a 4G variant as well.

Qualcomm has not revealed any other detail apart from the fact that it will come with 5G support built-in. However, Roland Quandt of WinFuture, in a tweet, hints at the flagship mobile platform coming with an external 5G modem. If the tweet is based on sources with knowledge of Qualcomm’s plans, we may see Snapdragon 865 or SM8250 coming in two variants. The first set of smartphones powered by this next generation flagship mobile platform is not expected to arrive until the beginning of 2020, and Qualcomm sees next year as the critical juncture for mass adoption of 5G around the world.

The current bread of 5G smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G come with Snapdragon 855 mobile platform and external 5G modem like the Snapdragon X50. By integrating the 5G modem into the main mobile platform, smartphone makers will have space to add a larger battery or improve the cooling mechanism or improve any other aspect of the device. The integrated 5G modem should result in Snapdragon 865 becoming default choice of mobile platform for flagship models in markets like South Korea and the United States, where 5G is already being rolled out in select cities.

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The non-5G variant of Snapdragon 865 could be more suited for markets like India, where 5G is expected to become available in an exploratory phase next year. With 5G not likely to have a massive deployment, markets like India will continue to market 4G to potential customers in 2020 as well. There is a possibility that Qualcomm is planning to target different markets for its Snapdragon 865 mobile platform when it launches later this year. We could hear more about Qualcomm’s plans at MWC Shanghai next month.

  • Published Date: May 6, 2019 12:39 PM IST