Qualcomm's powerful Snapdragon 835 chipset has made its way to more than 120 different devices at this point, according to Qualcomm Executive Vice President Cristiano Amon. Speaking at the Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui, Hawaii, Amon took the stage to celebrate Qualcomm's thirty year history and current position as the number one fabless semiconductor company the world over, and dropped that factoid on the crowd amid talk of Qualcomm's role in the evolution of the wireless industry and of how the company was planning to transition to 5G. Qualcomm's Snapdragon family is easily the most widely used mobile chipset family in the world, and the flagship Snapdragon 835 chipset is the gold standard, powering popular phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Lenovo Moto Z2 Force.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is an insanely powerful mobile chipset, roughly on level with the x86 Intel and AMD chips found in laptops from somewhat recent years. To put its power into perspective, it is the first mobile chip capable of smooth Gamecube emulation via the Dolphin emulator, as shown in a video featuring a Samsung Galaxy S8. The everyday operating and gaming prowess of the Snapdragon 835 is not quite as important as two features that got a bit less attention at launch; onboard machine learning and x86 emulation. Now, those two things are being harnessed in mobile AI solutions and Snapdragon-powered laptops, and more use cases are sure to come as the chip becomes more common and developers and OEMs gain a deeper understanding of how to use it.
At the conference, Qualcomm also talked about future 5G plans and how it expects the technology to work, and where the company fits in the burgeoning 5G scene. The fact that Qualcomm was the first company in the world to announce a mobile-capable 5G modem was touched on, as well as the fact that the company has already used it to create a 5G reference smartphone, and is already in 3GPP-compatible 5G trials with a large number of device makers and network operators worldwide, such as Nokia, Verizon, and SK Telecom. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chip supports 4G LTE connections up into the gigabit speed range alongside many 5G features, and may well be the last flagship mobile chip from the company to lack full support for proper 5G connections.