Qualcomm launches the Snapdragon 865 to power the flagships of 2020
Qualcomm has unveiled its brand new flagship mobile chipset for 2020, the Snapdragon 865 – not a huge surprise in terms of its naming, considering we had the Snapdragon 855 this year. Key upgrades cover 5G, camera performance, and display technologies like HDR and Dolby Vision.
As always, the new chipset will be able to do more calculations in a shorter time, with less of a draw on your phone's battery: that's why successive editions of flagship phones are able to offer up performance increases year on year (this year's Snapdragon 855 was everywhere from the Google Pixel 4 XL to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10).
Computational and graphics boosts should relate to up to a 25 percent performance improvement over last year's chipset, Qualcomm says, while potential 5G speeds will now top out at 7.5 Gbps, up from 5 Gbps a year ago with the equivalent chipset and modem combination (whether you'll be able to get a 5G signal by 2021 is another question).
As far as photos and videos go, the redesigned Spectra 480 image signal processor (ISP) is now capable of processing up to 2 gigapixels of content every second – that's enough to manage 200 MP photos, 8K video, and 960 frames-per-second slow-motion video at a resolution of 720p. Captured video will be able to support Dolby Vision HDR too.
Processing and efficiency improvements should make mobile gaming on the Snapdragon 865 closer than ever before to desktop gaming, Qualcomm is promising, with lighting and reflection effects now handled much better.
Artificial intelligence performance – that is, calculations specifically relating to neural networks and machine learning – will apparently be improved by up to a factor of two compared with the Snapdragon 855, which should mean apps like Google Assistant working much faster without having to refer back to the cloud over a network.
The latest Wi-Fi 6 standard is supported, which means speeds of up to 1.8 Gbps, and the latest Bluetooth 5.1 with super wide band (SWB) voice over Bluetooth for improved audio: your Bluetooth connections should be faster and more reliable than ever before.
"Snapdragon 865 supports the world's most advanced 5G connectivity and features, raising the bar for what a mobile device should be," said Alex Katouzian, the senior vice president and general manager for mobile at Qualcomm. "It's the culmination of Qualcomm's more than 30 years of wireless leadership and innovation."
We'll have to wait and see which handsets the Snapdragon 865 shows up in, but you can expect the likes of Samsung, OnePlus, Google, Xiaomi, LG, Sony and others to be very interested in what Qualcomm has to offer here.