The Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit 2019 is set to kick-off on December 3, where the next-gen flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset will be detailed alongside other announcements for the next smartphone season.
Each year, Qualcomm hosts its annual tech summit in December in Hawaii, where key announcements slated for the upcoming year are made. The event is expected to be headlined by the Snapdragon 865 SoC, followed by announcements around 5G, wearables and mid-range chipsets.
The Snapdragon 865 will be Qualcomm’s flagship chipset for 2020, powering most of the high-end Android smartphones. Specific details are yet to be known, but the 865 is expected to bring better graphics performance on the Adreno GPUs and better processing power by implementing the new Cortex-A77 cores. AI and Machine Learning should also get significant improvements. Improved image processing with support for multiple cameras and higher resolution sensors is also almost inevitable.
The most noticeable change will be the integration of a 5G modem on the chipset, similar to what Huawei and Samsung did with their Kirin 990 and Exynos 990, respectively. The chipset will also be available in a cheaper, non-5G variant for markets such as India. The rumored codenames for them are “Kona” and “Huracan”.
In terms of specifications, the Snapdragon 865 will be fabricated on a 7nm EUV manufacturing process for better efficiency, while also bringing support for LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 3.0 storage. Samsung Foundry has been selected as the manufacturing partner and will be mass-produced early next year.
5G for mid-range smartphones
At IFA 2019, Qualcomm announced that it would be developing 5G-enabled mid-range chipsets for Snapdragon 6 and 7 series processors, bringing 5G to mid-range and budget smartphones. The next wave of 7 series chipsets should arrive in the first half of 2020, with the 6-series coming later in the year. Confirmed OEM partners include Oppo, Vivo, Realme, Motorola, HMD Global (Nokia), etc.
Snapdragon Wear 330
Wear OS smartwatches have always been held back by inconsistent performance and sub-par battery life. Qualcomm aims to fix that with the next generation of its Snapdragon Wear platform. It is supposed to be a modified Snapdragon 439, bringing 12nm 64-bit architecture to wearables for the first time.
New ARM-based laptop processors
Qualcomm was very bullish about its laptop processor lineup, with the Snapdragon 8cx platform. We didn’t see many laptop makers leap Qualcomm’s ARM-based chipsets, but improvements in performance and compatibility should give it the jumpstart it needed. Perhaps we will also see 5G support this year.
The event lasts for three days on the island of Maui, where attendees will also get to experience these announcements in the flesh on reference devices. The Samsung Galaxy S11 is the most likely candidate for the debut of the Snapdragon 865 SoC.