Qualcomm worked in tandem with Samsung on their next generation processor, the Snapdragon 835. Samsung is manufacturing the chip for Qualcomm based on Samsung’s new 10nm FinFET process. One of the rewards of this symbiotic relationship is a window of exclusivity for Samsung to use the Snapdragon 835 in their new Galaxy S8 series smartphones coming out later in the first half of the year. This collaboration could offer a huge advantage over the other smartphone manufacturers such as LG or HTC to name a couple, both of which also release new devices during the same period – this means they will have to rely on the Snapdragon 821 rather than the latest and greatest Snapdragon 835.
Although there are many improvements in the Snapdragon 835 over the 821, many users may not even notice the difference. The techies and the salesperson that sells you your next new phone will certainly sing its praises and convince you to buy the newest processor on the market so you can keep from being left behind. The other manufacturers will not be able to claim the best of the best in their devices as Samsung proudly touts their Snapdragon 835 as the second coming and one of the main reasons to purchase a Galaxy S8 over an LG G6. This advantage could be Samsung’s big moment in the spotlight and a real boost in sales for them, providing everything goes well with the new processor.
Let’s take a look at what the new Snapdragon 835 has to offer regarding improvements in performance over its predecessor. Speed is always a crucial component of a processor, and according to Qualcomm, the 835 is 25-percent faster, will consume 40-percent less power, and come in at 30-percent smaller – all very impressive stats. It combines the power of the Kyro 280 CPU and an Adreno 540 GPU and can render 3D graphics 25-percent faster, provide more display colors, and give better sound; making it perfect for Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) devices. Because the Snapdragon 835 consumes less power, it should greatly improve the battery life, adding hours before you need to charge the device. Speaking of charging, the 835 comes with Qualcomm’s new Quick Charge 4.0, which will show a boost of 20-percent faster charging time than their previous Quick Charge 3.0. When it comes to the camera area, the Snapdragon 835 provides dual 14-bit Spectra Image signal processors (ISPs) that will support up to a 32-megapixel camera or two 16-megapixel cameras. The new Bluetooth 5.0 doubles the bandwidth of the Bluetooth 4.2 on the Snapdragon 821.
With all of these improvements of the Snapdragon 835, you would think that this year’s Galaxy S8 series would guarantee them a slam-dunk in winning this Spring's smartphone wars, but let’s think about this for a minute. Sometimes a chip design looks great on paper, but in reality it might not be so ‘hot.’ Remember the Snapdragon 810's overheating issues? Samsung was able to use their Exynos processor and Mali GPU in all of their Samsung Galaxy S6 models and Galaxy Note 5 models to escape the Snapdragon 810 woes. If there are problems with the newest Snapdragon 835, it could create more problems for Samsung – something they do not need at this point considering the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco and the bad press the incident received.
Just because the Snapdragon 835 offers some impressive features does not necessarily mean that Samsung will incorporate all of those features into its device. It is highly unlikely that Samsung will put a 32-megapixel or dual 16-megapixel cameras in the Galaxy S8 or even facial recognition. We hope that Quick Charge 4.0 and 3D audio might make it in the final design, but Samsung will have to design the Galaxy S8 with these features in mind. A lot will depend on how that customer uses their new smartphone – if they have no interest in VR or AR, and then the Snapdragon 835’s improvements have no bearing on that customer’s decision when purchasing a new smartphone. The better audio will make a big difference if you use earbuds, but if you listen to most of your music via a Bluetooth speaker, you will not notice much of a change.
Price also factors into a customer’s decision when purchasing a new device – will they buy into the hype that the name Samsung and the new processor are worth the extra money. Brand loyalty also plays a huge part when it comes to purchasing a smartphone. Samsung is just as much hated as revered by consumers and many are loyal to LG, HTC, Sony, or the Google Pixel. It does not matter what processor is in the new Galaxy S8 if they dislike Samsung. Marketing will also play a significant role in touting the advantages the Snapdragon 835. If Samsung can differentiate its device from other devices in a way that makes sense to the consumer, it could be a real boost to Samsung sales. Hopefully, the new Snapdragon 835 will be a real thoroughbred out the door, and Samsung will utilize its many improvements, while at the same time educate the public on what those improvements mean to the buyer. If all of that happens, the Snapdragon 835 could be a huge coup for Samsung...if not, the Galaxy S8 might just be another pretty face.