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06 декабря 2018, 01:50

All we know about the Snapdragon 855 chip that will power the Galaxy S10


All we know about the Snapdragon 855 chip that will power the Galaxy S10

Article last updated with new information on December 5, 2018. UPDATE: As expected, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 855 at an official media event. However, most of the in-depth technical details about the chip remain unclear. What we do know about the Snapdragon 855 is that it works in tandem with the Qualcomm X50 modem to provide multi-gigabit 5G connectivity. Qualcomm also teased the extended support of on-device AI, with up to 3 times improved AI performance compared to its previous chips, but without going into specifics as to what kind of real-life benefits this could have. Additionally, the 855 takes advantage of a new image signal processor leveraging computational photography for improved imaging and video. And lastly, a feature called Snapdragon Elite Gaming was teased, but again, without much clarity as to how it would improve the gaming experience on Snapdragon 855-powered devices. The first flagship 5G smartphone in the US is set to launch during the first half of 2019 – powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip and X50 modem. According to previously leaked details, the Snapdragon 855 chip is to be made on a 7nm process. It is also said to feature 4 power-saving, 2 medium-powered, and 1 high-performace CPU core. These details are likely to be confirmed today during the second day of Qualcomm's Snapdragon Summit event in Hawaii. Original article follows below. We're sure you'll agree with us when we say this: keeping something a secret has never been as difficult as it is now. Our own news feed is your living proof – leaks expose most new gadgets weeks before their official announcement. Thanks for spoiling the fun, internet! Same is the case now with the Snapdragon 855, which is destined to become the next best Snapdragon chip. We've been hearing rumors about it for months, even though Qualcomm has yet to make the new silicon official. Why is the Snapdragon 855 worth being excited about? Because that's the chip that will power many of next year's flagship Android phones, including the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S10. So without further ado, let us now go over all the Snapdragon 855 leaks and rumors that we have so far.

The Snapdragon 855 is real, and here's the proof

As we mentioned, Qualcomm has yet to publicly announce the Snapdragon 855, but its engineers have been busy with its development for quite some time. We've been sure of this for months as we've found multiple references to the new chip on the LinkedIn pages of several Qualcomm engineers. The Snapdragon 855 is internally known as the SDM855 and is set to launch in 2019, apparently. It is worth pointing out that the Snapdragon 855 name has not been mentioned by Qualcomm itself. However, since the Snapdragon 845 has the model name SDM845, it makes sense to expect the SDM855 to be commercially known as the Snapdragon 855. But are these Qualcomm's plans?

The Snapdragon 855 (SDM855) being mentioned on the LinkedIn page of a Qualcomm engineer

The Snapdragon 855 (SDM855) being mentioned on the LinkedIn page of a Qualcomm engineer

The Snapdragon 855 name: will it stick?

Curiously, the next best Snapdragon chip may end up being called something else. The model number SM8150 has been thrown around for several months now, and sure enough, further digging through LinkedIn's user database revealed several references to a chip under that name. Will the Snapdragon 855 launch as the Snapdragon 8150? We doubt it. You see, Qualcomm may have used the SDM855 name internally and might have switched to SM8150 at some point... and for some reason. Commercially, its next best chip may still be called Snapdragon 855. We'll find out soon if that's really the case.

The SM8150 being mentioned by Qualcomm employees

The SM8150 being mentioned by Qualcomm employees

The SM8150 being mentioned by Qualcomm employees

Snapdragon 855 vs 845: the specs and new features we expect

All we know about the Snapdragon 855 chip that will power the Galaxy S10

One of the biggest upgrades in the Snapdragon 855 over the 845 is expected to be the shift to a new, more efficient manufacturing process. While the current Snapdragon 845 is fabricated on a 10nm process, the next best Snapdragon chip will mark the move to a 7nm node for Qualcomm's high-end SoCs. This will bring the gains naturally expected with each new generation of Snapdragon chips, such as increased performance and better power efficiency. Mind you, the above is merely speculation at this time, but the clues pointing in that direction are out there already. Earlier this year, Qualcomm made the X24 modem official – a 7nm LTE chipset capable of 2Gbps data speeds. The X24 may also come integrated into the Snapdragon 855, which would itself be a 7nm chip as well if that's the case. Again, several months ago, we found multiple instances of the SDM855 and X24 being mentioned together on LinkedIn by Qualcomm employees.

The Qualcomm X24 LTE modem and what could be the Snapdragon 855 mentioned together on the LinkedIn page of a Qualcomm engineer

The Qualcomm X24 LTE modem and what could be the Snapdragon 855 mentioned together on the LinkedIn page of a Qualcomm engineer

Further Snapdragon 855 specs are expected to include a 7-core CPU design comprised of one high-performance core, two balanced cores, and four additional cores for light loads. The Adreno 630 GPU from the Snapdragon 845 may end up being replaced by an Adreno 640 GPU. Also, we can safely assume that the Snapdragon 855 would integrate modules that handle high-tech stuff like augmented and virtual reality applications, as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning implementations.

Snapdragon 855: a 5G chip?

Now that we've touched on the topic of connectivity, it should be noted that the Snapdragon 855 may not necessarily have 5G connectivity built into it. The aforementioned X24 modem may be fast, but it is not quite 5G-capable. Despite that, the Snapdragon 855 may appear in 5G devices – a possible scenario outlined by a report published by Japanese corporation Softbank earlier this year. In the report, Softbank makes a mention of a Snapdragon 855 combined with the Qualcomm X50 5G modem in a so-called Fusion Platform. In such a configuration, the X50 would provide access to the 5G networks of the future along with all the necessary antennas. And once you step outside of your carrier's 5G coverage, the 855's built-in 4G connectivity will kick in.

Softbank Japan says this is what's next from Qualcomm: The Snapdragon 855 Fusion Platform consisting of the SDM855 and the SDX50 Modem (5G). Taken from their official earnings presentation: https://t.co/LR9k4h165N pic.twitter.com/2Ceb6MCnNI

— Roland Quandt (@rquandt) March 7, 2018

What are the upcoming Snapdragon 855 phones?

While nothing is official at this time, it is safe to say that the Samsung Galaxy S10 will be powered by the Snapdragon 855, at least in the US. Qualcomm and Samsung have a long history of working together, and the first Snapdragon 855 phone being the Samsung Galaxy S10 is a highly likely scenario. Though nothing is certain at this time. Of course, other companies will probably want to get in on the Snapdragon 855 action as well. LG, Sony, Moto, OnePlus, and Nokia are all brands known for using Qualcomm Snapdragon chips in their top-tier smartphones, so seeing Snapdragon 855 flagship devices from them as well would only be a matter of time. However, the first phone to include both the Snapdragon 855 and 5G connectivity may come from another company – Lenovo. Or at least that's what Lenovo Vice President Chang Cheng said back in July on Chinese social media. His post has since been taken down without any further comment from the company.

The first Snapdragon 855 phone with 5G may come from Lenovo. Image source - Weibo via VentureBeat

The first Snapdragon 855 phone with 5G may come from Lenovo. Image source - Weibo via VentureBeat

When are the Snapdragon 855 phones coming?

The Snapdragon 845 was announced in December of 2017 at the Snapdragon Summit event held in Hawaii. The Snapdragon 855 is expected to become official a year later – on December 4, during the Snapdragon Summit, to be held in Hawaii by Qualcomm itself. A livestream of the event will go live at 11:00AM PST / 2:00PM EST. The Samsung Galaxy S10, which is likely to be the first Snapdragon 855 phone to hit the market, could be announced in late February and then launched in the US by the middle of March.

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Source: https://www.phonearena.com/news/All-we-know-about-the-Snapdragon-855-chip-that-will-power-the-Galaxy-S10_id107724