Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 Could Offer This Key Performance Boost Over SD855

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We’re barely a few months into the reign of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC over the flagship Android smartphone market, but we're hearing new talk about its successor. The Snapdragon 855 is already a potent piece of silicon with its octa-core Kryo 485 CPU, Adreno 640 GPU and Snapdragon X24 2Gbps LTE modem.

However, we’re getting an early glimpse at what could possibly be its successor: the Snapdragon 865 (SDM8250). Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 leverages LPDDR4X for its main system memory, but the forthcoming Snapdragon 865 – which reportedly is actively being developed under the codename Kora -- is said to up the ante with support for LPDDR5. This should open up some pretty big performance advantages for Snapdragon 865, in terms of memory bandwidth, over its predecessor.

WinFuture also claims that early development board that contain the Snapdragon 865 are accompanied by another chip referenced as SDM55. It’s highly likely that this is in reference to Qualcomm’s second-generation Snapdragon X55 5G modem. Just as the Snapdragon X50 5G modem can be paired with the Snapdragon 855 for first-generation 5G smartphones, it looks as though the Snapdragon 865 has found its cellular partner.

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This would also seem to indicate that the Snapdragon 865 isn’t the fully-integrated 5G-capable SoC that Qualcomm has previously announced. That unnamed Snapdragon Mobile Platform will be a single-chip solution including a multi-mode 5G modem on the same silicon. Qualcomm says that this SoC will land in shipping smartphone during the first half of 2020.

“Our R&D and leading mobile platforms enable phone manufacturers to innovate and scale groundbreaking products globally,” said Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon back in late February. “The integration of our breakthrough 5G multimode modem and application processing technologies into a single SoC is a major step in making 5G more widely available across regions and tiers.”

As for the Snapdragon 865, Qualcomm is likely to announce the SoC in late 2019 with the first smartphones employingf the chip arriving during the first quarter of 2020 (if the company mirrors previous flagship Snapdragon launches). At that time, it will be facing stiff competition from Samsung’s [likely] Exynos 9830, Huawei’s Kirin 990 and potentially Apple’s A13.