UPDATE: Qualcomm may not drive up flagship smartphone prices after all, at least not as much as this report suggested. David Ruddock of Android Police claims that he "heard from a source" that the major price hikes on the Snapdragon 875 are not accurate information. We'll see what will happen.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: According to a new report, flagship smartphone prices will skyrocket in 2021, no thanks to Qualcomm. It's not exactly a secret that the Snapdragon 865 comes with a 5G modem, and that is the only configuration OEMs can buy it in.
That set is not cheap, it costs OEMs around $150-$160. If not for the 5G modem bundle, the chip itself would be considerably more affordable, and thus smartphone prices would be lower.
5G is not where it should be at this point in time, and many OEMs would probably release a 4G flagship only, or a 4G variant of a 5G phone. Interestingly enough, Qualcomm did offer one of its best mid-range chips in two variants.
We're talking about the Snapdragon 765. The regular, 4G variant, comes with the Snapdragon 765 name. The 5G model carries the Snapdragon 765G name.
The same did not happen with the Snapdragon 865, unfortunately. Qualcomm will use a similar model next year, according to this report. The thing is, the Snapdragon 875 will be considerably more expensive than its predecessor. It will allegedly come with an integrated Snapdragon X60 modem for 5G, unlike the Snapdragon 865.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 to be a lot more expensive, and thus push up flagship smartphone prices in 2021
That a considerable price hike, needless to say. That same report also mentions Xiaomi. The company is allegedly in the middle of a fierce debate about its next flagship. The company is worried about the price tag.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro are already quite expensive, partially thanks to the Snapdragon 865. The company made its name making phones that are priced lower than the competition, and it seems like it wants to continue that trend.
With the usage of the Snapdragon 875, its price point will go even further up. It seems like Xiaomi is debating how high will that price be, and what can be done about it.
We doubt that Xiaomi will jump ship when it comes to Qualcomm flagship SoCs, despite the consequences. The company has been using Qualcomm processors for a long time at this point, and they're kind of expected in its flagships.
Do note that this is just a report at this point. That report may be wrong, of course, though it makes sense. Qualcomm's current practice is definitely not the best when it comes to price tags.
We're not sure why such a price boost is necessary, but it would be nice of Qualcomm to offer up an explanation if it happens. Development is costly, as is production, but this boost is… well, out there.