Qualcomm has announced a new flagship version of its Snapdragon smartphone platform. Snapdragon 855 is significant for two reasons – firstly, this is
Qualcomm has announced a new flagship version of its Snapdragon smartphone platform. Snapdragon 855 is significant for two reasons – firstly, this is the platform that will power many of 2019’s flagship phones and secondly, it will power the first commercially-available 5G-capable handsets in early-to-mid 2019.
Let’s explore what this means for your next smartphone. Will all Snapdragon 855 handsets be 5G?
No, and this is a key point. Not all Snapdragon 855 handsets will be 5G-capable. The previously-announced X50 5G modem is, if you like, an optional extra for manufacturers to include in their handsets and is external to the main 855 chip. Instead, the 855 chip contains a 4G LTE modem (X24) capable of up to 2Gbps.
This makes total sense at this stage of 5G’s development. It’s clearly intended to give manufacturers choice and raises the potential for there to be both 4G and 5G versions of flagship handsets.
We’d expect next year’s Snapdragon 865 (not a huge leap to deduce that nomenclature) to integrate a 5G-capable modem on the chip. Pocket-lint What’s Snapdragon 855 based on?
Like every other type of mobile phone CPU, Snapdragon is based on core designs from ARM, here the ARM Cortex-A76. But like other people that produce their own chips (Huawei, Apple, Samsung, and others) they take the original design and add their own optimisations, graphics, modem and more.
As we mentioned, Snapdragon 855 is a 7nm chip, like the Huawei Kirin 980 and upcoming Samsung Exynos 9820 that we’ll see in some versions of the Galaxy S10.Last year’s Snapdragon 845 used the 10nm manufacturing process and the smaller process essentially means it can be more power and performance efficient and pack more capabilities into the chip. Qualcomm
At the heart of 855 are eight Kryo 640 processor cores that, says Qualcomm, represents the biggest leap forward in performance between Snapdragon generations. The cores are clocked at different speeds meaning they can adapt to different types of applications – the key performance core runs at a significant 2.

Continue reading...