Flagship features continue to trickle down from $1,000 phones to their more-affordable brothers, and the same is happening with the chips that power them. Qualcomm unveiled new midrange mobile CPUs today that offer advanced features typically reserved for high-end phones, like AI processing and gaming enhancements. The Snapdragon 730, 730G and 665 are supposed to show up in (presumably cheaper-than-flagship) devices in mid-2019, meaning we may have a slate of budget-friendly handsets to look out for. For the first time, Qualcomm is launching a gaming-specific version of a chipset alongside the regular one. The Snapdragon 730G (G stands for Gaming, get it?)
The rumors were true: Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G platform on Wednesday, offering faster CPU and GPU clock speeds, upgraded Wi-Fi, plus 5G modem support. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G platform (also referred to as the Snapdragon 865 Plus, when speaking about the chip itself) is essentially an upgraded version of the Snapdragon 865 chip the company unveiled last December for premium smartphones. The Snapdragon 865 introduced a host of new features, including camera upgrades, AI, security, and gaming. The Snapdragon 865 was designed around Qualcomm's standalone X55 5G modem, and the Snapdragon 865 Plus is as well, though neither is integrated. Both the 865 and the 865 Plus are 7nm chips. Almost all of the features on both the Snapdragon 865 and 865 Plus are common to both platforms.
As we hurtle towards 2019, Qualcomm has been busy introducing the world to its latest products that are likely to drive next year's biggest trends. To be clear, there are a lot of highlights here. This is the first mobile processor to support multi-gigabit 5G, and is one of the first chips built on 7-nanometer architecture. The Snapdragon 855 also features (among other things) advances in AI processing and graphics prowess -- let's take a closer look. For all of Qualcomm's talk abut 5G, the 855 is fascinating because it mainly relies on a new, built-in X24 LTE modem, not the Snapdragon X50 5G modem we've heard so much about lately.
The Galaxy S11 may still be months away, but Qualcomm's announcement of the premium Snapdragon 865 chipset on Tuesday gives us a good idea of how the S11's inner workings might be. For a start, it should have 5G baked right in, kicking off the era of 5G connectivity for all high-end phones, not just the first few trend-setting devices. Samsung hasn't officially revealed the Galaxy S11 -- or any phone for 2020 -- but its Galaxy phones have been among the first to use Qualcomm's latest chips for years. As the world's largest mobile chipmaker, Qualcomm's top-tier processors run many of the most advanced phones on the planet. Many of a phone's headlining features come directly from the chip within, rather than from the manufacturer itself.
Mobile gaming is picking up some new desktop gaming tricks for better gameplay overall. Two digital pinballs roll slowly across the screen, one a dull grey blob, the other a dynamic orb with light and shadow dancing off its surface as it rolled. This is one demo Qualcomm used this week to show off how its new 5G chips for 2020 -- the Snapdragon 865 and 765G -- will upgrade gaming on your future phone. Built for high-end devices, the Snapdragon 865 chipset contains the lion's share of the new features, which you should expect to see on phones like a future Samsung Galaxy S11 or LG G9. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 765G is a midprice 5G chip made just for gaming phones, a distinction from the regular Snapdragon 765 that should help nudge more phones for gamers into the market.