Qualcomm 7nm Snapdragon 8150 Beast Mobile Chip Hits Bluetooth SIG Labs For A Cameo

Qualcomm Snapdragon
If you were to gut just about any flagship Android phone, you would find Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC) sitting inside. It's still the top mobile part in Qualcomm's stable. That will change with the introduction of the Snapdragon 8150, which apparently has not been certified by SIG Labs for Bluetooth connectivity.

There are a few things to unpack here, starting with the name. Qualcomm's past naming convention suggests its next flagship mobile will be called Snapdragon 855. That might be still be true, though more recently it was reported it will instead be called Snapdragon 8150 as part of a rebranding effort. That is reinforced by its Bluetooth certification, which lists the model number as SM8150.

Whatever it's called, the new chip is said to be built on a 7-nanometer manufacturing process. It's worth noting that both the current generation Snapdragon 845 and previous generation Snapdragon 835 are built on a 10nm node. The move to 7nm should bring with it certain benefits, namely better power efficiency and faster performance. While not guaranteed, those are typically the hallmarks of shrinking a process node.

The Snapdragon 8150 is already in production and has been for several months now.  It was also reported over the summer that it was sampling to smartphone makers for inclusion into their 2019 handsets. In addition to faster performance and hopefully better battery life, the Snapdragon 8150 will incorporate the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem supporting 2Gbps downlink speeds. Qualcomm also confirmed that its new SoC can be paired with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem to deliver a "premium tier" for smartphones and mobile devices.

According to the Snapdragon 8150's Bluetooth certification page, it will support 802.11ac (or Wi-Fi 5, if using the Wi-Fi Alliance's new nomenclature) 2x2 MIMO and Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy. There is an interesting wrinkle, though. The certification also points to Qualcomm's latest wireless chip, the WCN3998-0. Qualcomm announced the chip earlier this year with support for the next-generation 802.11ax (or Wi-Fi 6) standard.

What all of this means is that the Snapdragon 8150 is on track, consistent with previous reports, and should be end up in Android devices in early 2019.