Cheap flagship Android phones may happen, if this leak is real

Snapdragon 888
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm is one of the most renowned brands out there when it comes to developing chipsets for Android mobile devices, and it looks like it could be expanding its roster with a variant on its powerful Snapdragon 888 processor.

This rumored chipset would, however, lack an integrated 5G modem, which could allow the company to provide high-end processing power at a lower cost.

Leaker Roland Quandt brought the rumor to attention on Twitter, where he suggested that Qualcomm has a “lower end derivate” of the Snapdragon 888 processor in the works. Its model number, SM8325, suggests only a slight downgrade to the Snapdragon 888, the model number of which is SM8350.

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Nothing’s been confirmed on Qualcomm’s end as of yet, but if there’s credence to the rumors, this could mean that manufacturers will have the option to make their future flagship devices more affordable while sacrificing little to no processing power found in current high-end Android mobile devices. 

Cheaper flagship phones?

Chipsets are often one of the most expensive components in a mobile device, and are one of the driving forces behind why high-end smartphones and tablets come with such high price tags.

While Qualcomm’s rumored SM8325 chipset could drop the integrated 5G modem, that doesn’t necessarily mean 5G support is omitted entirely. What’s more likely is that 5G integration isn’t mandatory, instead offering manufacturers the option to exclude 5G in order to keep costs down.

It’ll be worth keeping an eye on Qualcomm’s announcements in 2021; if the company is indeed working on a lite version of the Snapdragon 888, then Android devices launching in the future could provide some much-needed competition for the best and priciest hardware available on the market, with comparable performance at a lower cost. That’s great news if you’re not all that bothered about losing 5G.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.