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

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All we know about the Snapdragon 855 chip that will power the Galaxy S10
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're still months away from the silicon's official unveiling, but its existence has already been confirmed by multiple sources. 

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 are working on it already. We're sure of this as we 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.
The Snapdragon 855 (SDM855) being mentioned on the LinkedIn page of a Qualcomm engineer

The Snapdragon 855 name: will it stick?

It is worth pointing out that the Snapdragon 855 name has not been mentioned by Qualcomm itself, and there's still the chance of the next best Snapdragon chip being called something else. In fact, the Snapdrgon model naming nomenclature may be changed entirely, according to a recent rumor coming from a reliable source, namely Roland Quandt on Twitter. We'll have to wait and see what Qualcomm's really up to, but for now, we'll stick to calling the chip the Snapdragon 855.

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. Qualcomm recently 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, we found multiple instances of the SDM855 and X24 being mentioned together on LinkedIn by Qualcomm employees.

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

Further Snapdragon 855 specs aren't known at this time. We can only guess how many CPU cores it will boast and wonder what its GPU capabilities would be. But looking at current trends, 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 isn't likely to 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 recent report published by Japanese corporation Softbank. 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.

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, Nokia, and OnePlus 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

When are the Snapdragon 855 phones coming?

The Snapdragon 845 was announced in December of 2017 at the Snapdragon Summit event held in Hawaii, so it's possible to see the Snapdragon 855 become official before 2018's end. In fact, it is rumored that the chip is already in mass production. 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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