The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is now official and destined for your next premium smartphone.
The company fully unveiled its latest 5G chip at its annual tech summit in Hawaii.
In addition to providing a more indepth look at the processor, Qualcomm confirmed the first Snapdragon 865-powered smartphones should arrive in early 2020.
A new and more powerful 5G Snapdragon SoC
Quacomm specifically points to how this chip contains "the world's most advanced 5G Modem-RF System." While adding that with peak speeds of up to 7.5 Gbps, the Snapdragon 865 mobile platform aims to deliver "unmatched connectivity and performance."
Focusing specifically on the 5G benefits, Qualcomm points to the use of the Snapdragon X55 and how it is a complete modem-to-antenna 5G solution. This more comprehensive approach to 5G not only is supposed to improve performance, but do so with greater efficiency and less power consumption.
What's more, Qualcomm is positioning this as a global chip. That's not only global in terms of the regional band support, but also the actual 5G technology support. For example, the 865 supports mmWave and sub-6 in both TDD and FDD frequencies, non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) , Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS, global 5G roaming, and multi-SIM.
In 5G spiel, this really is Quaclomm's do-it-all chip. Spiel-aside, it is not an integrated do-it-all chip.
Yes, in spite of the many benefits Qualcomm touts, the Snapdragon 865 is not an integrated 5G solution. The use of the Snapdragon X55 is evidence that the Snapdragon 865 still relies on a separate modem.
More than just 5G
Although Qualcomm is quick to focus on the 5G benefits considering most of the tech world is waiting for the 5G revolution to take place, that's only one of the areas of improvements.
The Snapdragon 865 also utilizes the company's 5th generation AI engine for improvements to photography, gaming and voice interactions.
Not only is the AI engine supposedly twice as powerful as the previous one, but thanks to the new Qualcomm Sensing Hub, devices powered by the Snapdragon 865 are also more contextually aware and able to translate speech instantly.
Then there's the usual power and efficiency benefits one would expect with a new generation processor. In the case of the 865, Qualcomm argues the CPU is capable of a 25 percent boost in performance speed, and battery life cycles can be extended by up to 200 days.
If all that was not enough, there's also the benefits to smartphone photography. In fact, this is another of the major selling points.
In recent times, the Snapdragon 865 had made a big play for camera improvements. Understandably, considering smartphone makers have also made a big camera play when announcing their latest devices.
Generally these devices are limited by the limitations of the chip inside and Qualcomm is making it clear the Snapdragon 865 is its most powerful smartphone camera chip to date.
The headline feature is that Snapdragon 865-powered devices can capture Dolby Vision video. A first for smartphones, according to Qualcomm.
Another of the major camera selling points is the support for 2 gigapixels per second speeds. Qualcomm refers to this as "ground-breaking photography that you've never seen before on mobile." This can be further explained as the ability to capture images at 200 megapixels – "the largest photos ever on mobile" – or simultaneously capture photos at 64 megapixels.
If you're more interested in video resolution than 8K support is included, as is 960 fps limitless HD slow-motion video capturing
You'll have to wait for the Snapdragon 865, though
As is always the case, Qualcomm is announcing this chip way ahead of when you'll actually be able to start using it.
Right now, Qualcomm says that it expects the first devices powered by the Snapdragon 865 to arrive in the first quarter of 2020.
What's more, there's no guarantee that the next flagship smartphone you buy will come with the most robust 5G solution. While Qualcomm will be offering a version of the Snapdragon 865 chip as a complete 5G package, as the SoC still utilizes a non-integrated solution, smartphone-makers will retain the option of passing on the required 5G modem.
In some cases, this will simply mean a smartphone company offers both 5G and non-5G versions of a phone. In other cases, it may mean there is no 5G option at all.
In those instances, you'll have to rely on the other benefits Qualcomm is touting with its latest mobile processor.