Qualcomm expects over 200 million 5G subscribers by the end of 2020, and to that end the company announced its new Snapdragon 865 and 765 mobile chipsets today. While the 865 marks the flagship end of Qualcomm’s portfolio, there’s also a Snapdragon 765/765G chipset with integrated 5G capabilities.
There’s an interesting step here though. While the Snapdragon 865 is meant for flagship-class phones, it doesn’t have integrated 5G capabilities. Instead, the company is including the standalone Snapdragon X55 modem in the 865 to handle 5G connectivity. So, the cheaper Snapdragon 765 is actually the company’s first chipset with integrated 5G connectivity.
That said, 5G is still a mandatory addition on the Snapdragon 865, so it’s possible that Qualcomm is just keeping its options open so that it can update the modem on its flagship chipset if and when it comes up with a different one. It’s worth noting that the company doesn’t follow the same timeline for modem updates as it does for the chipsets. The Snapdragon 765 and 765G use the X52 modem.
Further, allowing an integrated solution on the Snapdragon 765 suggests that Qualcomm is driving 5G adoption for the mainstream. The Snapdragon 8 series is usually meant for flagship-class phones, while the 7 series is meant for phones that are slightly cheaper and hence more accessible, which would make sense for markets like India. The company has also said that it will be bringing 5G modems to the Snapdragon 600 series within 2020.
“The conditions in markets like India and Latin America are very positive to launch (5G) quickly,” said Ignacio Contreas, Director, Marketing at Qualcomm. “With technologies like dynamic spectrum sharing, you can make use of available spectrum to deploy 5G services. So, the devices are there, the infrastructure is there, and the spectrum can be there,” he added.
To that end, Xiaomi announced during the keynote that the company will be launching over 10 new 5G capable smartphones in 2020. HMD Global, the brand that sells Nokia branded smartphones, also announced that it will be bringing 5G capable smartphones next year, as did Oppo. According to Contras, Qualcomm has even seen OEMs cancelling current 4G devices in their roadmaps to focus on 5G smartphones for 2020.
The 865 also sports gigapixel image processing capabilities, meaning it can allow gigapixel cameras on smartphones, at least theoretically. Qualcomm also said that the chipset can allow smartphones to shoot videos in 8K resolution at 30 frames per second, which would be a first for mobile phones.
The “G” in the Snapdragon 765G signifies Qualcomm’s Elite Gaming experiences. So, the chipset is meant specifically for smartphones that focus on mobile gaming.