Qualcomm could unveil its next-gen flagship chip on September 24th

Qualcomm could unveil its next-gen flagship chip on September 24th
According to a report out of Japan, this coming Tuesday Qualcomm will make an announcement and there is speculation that the chip designer will unveil the Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform. Expected to be found inside high-end Android devices next year, the new chipset will be manufactured by Samsung using its 7nm EUV process. The smaller the process number, the more transistors fit inside the chip making it more powerful and energy-efficient. And extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) is a more precise method of marking up a chip die for transistor placement. Qualcomm's current top-of-the-line-chipset is the Snapdragon 855+, an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform that offers a 15% improvement in graphics capabilities.

However, there could be another reason for the announcement. As it turns out, some new Android handsets are expected to be unveiled on Tuesday including a pair from Xiaomi (Xiaomi Mi 9 Pro 5G and Xiaomi Mi MIX Alpha), the Sony Xperia 5 and the Realme X2. Taking this into consideration, the buzz around the water cooler suggests that one or more of these devices could be the reason for the teaser that Qualcomm posted yesterday for the upcoming event. All of the aforementioned phones will employ a Snapdragon SoC with the 855+ expected inside the Mi 9 Pro 5G and possibly the Mi MIX Alpha. The regular Snapdragon 855 SoC will power the Xperia 5 with the Snapdragon 730G chip driving the X2. There must be a connection between the number "3" used in Xiaomi's teaser and the three smartphone manufacturers we've been discussing in this paragraph.


While Samsung is doing the fab work and manufacturing the Snapdragon 865, Qualcomm will be returning to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for 2021's Snapdragon 875 Mobile Platform. The world's largest independent foundry, TSMC rolls chips off the assembly line for companies that design their own chips, but don't have the facilities to make them. For example, both Apple and Huawei design their own SoCs like the A13 Bionic and Kirin 990 respectively. But both rely on TSMC to churn out the chips they've designed.

This has been quite a tumultuous year for Qualcomm with several high and low points


As for the Snapdragon 865, traditionally Samsung's new Galaxy S phones have been the first with a global release to sport the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, and that most likely won't change next year. The very first phone to be powered by the Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform was the Xiaomi Mi 9, but this device was not offered worldwide.

2019 has been quite a tumultuous year for Qualcomm. It started with the chip designer in the midst of a feud with Apple and both companies were getting ready to square off in court multiple times. Qualcomm also was the defendant in an antitrust case brought by the FTC. The non-jury trial in January was presided over by Judge Lucy Koh (of Samsung v. Apple fame). During the proceedings, Apple and other firms testified against Qualcomm's sales practices including its "No license, no chips" policy, the computation of royalties based on the retail price of a phone, and its failure to license its standards-essential patents in a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) manner.


Things took a turn for the better in April (as far as Qualcomm is concerned) just as a court battle with Apple was wrapping up; the two outfits agreed on a settlement. All legal action between the companies was dropped and Apple paid Qualcomm an undisclosed amount believed to be $4.5 billion; in return, Apple received a six-year license (with a two-year option) and a multi-year chip supply agreement.

And so Qualcomm sailed along, but only for a month. In May, the verdict was in and Judge Koh ruled that Qualcomm had engaged in anticompetitive behavior. Losing this court case could force the chip designer to overhaul its current business practices. And while Judge Koh refused to grant Qualcomm a stay that would allow it to continue the status quo until all of its appeals have been exhausted, last month the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the stay.

If Qualcomm does not get Judge Koh's ruling overturned on appeal, it faces the long, complex and difficult task of renegotiating all of the current contracts it has with phone manufacturers. The chip designer asked for the stay because it did not want to go through this process, win on appeal, and then have to come to terms on a whole new set of contracts.

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8 Comments

1. surethom

Posts: 1718; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Wonder if they will also announce the new Qualcomm 429 chip for smartwatchs? Even though not out untill next year?

3. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yea, I'm think the announcement will be low and mid range SoCs Probably successors to the 429, 665/675 and 712/730 Makes sense given Huawei, Samsung and MediaTek have already announced theirs I highly doubt they'll announce the 865 They usually announce their flagship SoC in Dec or Jan at their Snapdragon Tech Summit, which is usually 2-3 days Day 1 for modems. Day 2 for their flagship phone SoC. And recently Day 3 for their flagship tablet/laptop SoC

2. User123456789

Posts: 1008; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Best CPU Best GPU Best modem. #goqualcomm

9. Phullofphil

Posts: 1822; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

Are you a Qualcomm cheerleader. Where Should Qualcomm go exactly.

4. yalokiy

Posts: 1049; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

If true, that would be much earlier than last year SD855 announcement, which happened on December 4.

5. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

If true, it would make the Pixel 4 announcement kinda embarrassing I'm a huge fan of Google's cameras, but they need to release their phones earlier

6. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2448; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I don’t think they will because new Pixel hardware usually coincides with the full release of the latest Android. Since Android 10 was just released this month, it makes sense to showcase hardware right after that will utilize it. Not to mention that there is something to be said about hardware sales around the holiday season when people are more likely to make purchases.

7. Be_Mine

Posts: 290; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

I agree with both of you. On the Hardware side, Google seems to be always a little late to the party. But on the other hand, like @Dr. Phil said, it make sense to wait and Launch the Pixel Phone with their latest software. Apple also did pretty much the same thing.

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