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Qualcomm Snapdragon 865

Qualcomm offers a glimpse at phones in 2020

One of the leading chip makers has revealed its next processor, and with it, an idea of what to expect from phones next year.

It’s the end of the year, yet near a beginning of another. As 2019 draws to a close and we make our way into the new year, you might be wondering whether it would be worth waiting to buy a new phone, or just diving into what you have this year.

There are a lot of solid choices from this year, but 2020 is only a month away, and new phones only a couple of months from that. While CES could reveal one or two phones, the real likelihood of the new amazeballs smartphones is from late February, with Mobile World Congress.

Ahead of that, one of the world’s leading phone chip makers has announced that its next processor will have, revealing some of what you can expect in the new phones.

Even though Samsung tends to use its own Exynos chips in Australia and Huawei pushes its Kirin processors, the Qualcomm Snapdragon range is what you can find in quite a lot of phones, with MediaTek’s chips often found outside of those.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 series is what you will typically find in high-end phones, and the Snapdragon 855 has made an appearance in a few phones this year. LG used it, Google used, and a whole bunch of others, and next year’s chip, the Snapdragon 865, is already giving us a glimpse of what we can expect from more phones next year.

The new chips will incorporate some impressive high-speed 5G technologies, offering speeds as high as 7.5Gbps, network dependent, of course. Translated in real terms, it technically means speeds as high as almost one gigabyte (1GB) per second will be possible, provided a 5G network can keep up. They’re still being developed, so it might take some time before we get there, but at least phones from next year will begin to see some of that support.

And that’s not all, either. Phones from next year will support improvements to the graphics, as well, delivering up to 25 percent performance boost and customised graphics technology, complete with support for mobile high-dynamic range (HDR). Qualcomm is calling it “desktop-quality gaming”, potentially delivering more realism in graphics, and support for faster refresh rates, ideal for those gaming phones beginning to make their way out.

Even if you don’t play games, some of what’s in the new Snapdragon chip glimpses how it will affect the smartphone cameras, with the chip able to process imagery much more quickly. It’s not just a matter of speed, but also capability, with support for up to 200 megapixel images or 8K video.

The highest megapixel count we have on phones right now sits at 108 megapixels, thanks to a collaboration between Xiaomi and Samsung, and which has resulted in a 108 megapixel Xiaomi phone being released before year’s end. Samsung is expected to use the same sensor in the next Galaxy S phone, the Galaxy S11, and given Samsung uses the Snapdragon chips in America, you can probably expect some of this technology used there, too.

That new chip will also support Dolby Vision capture for improved HDR video, while high-definition slow motion captured at 960 frames per second will be able to find for longer than a few seconds, boosting the camera capability for more than just your standard shots.

And while all of this sounds great, there’s also the technology you won’t likely think about, such as a higher definition take on wireless audio with “aptX Voice”, which will deliver clearer voice communication over wireless alongside some technologies to bolster wireless link quality and reduce latency.

This is just in the chip, mind you, so you can probably expect more from the phones that use it. While it will bring a lot of these features, manufacturers will still need to define their phones with their own “wow” factor in the year ahead.

“Snapdragon 865 supports the world’s most advanced 5G connectivity and features, raising the bar for what a mobile device should be,” said Alex Katouzian, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobile for Qualcomm.

The bad news is that you’ll have to wait a few months before this chip and its features arrive in a new phone, with late February the expected time frame for these to appear. A new Samsung, a new LG, and likely a few others, while this set of features will also probably pop up in chip offerings from competitors.

If anything, this at least sets up what we can expect from the crop of 2020’s premium phones, with the features trickling to lesser priced phones in the coming years, too.

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