Snapdragon 855 is Qualcomm's next flagship mobile platform built for 5G

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and 5G

It's official: the latest and greatest mobile platform from Qualcomm to lust after is the Snapdragon 855. The name and initial details were unveiled during the company's annual "Tech Summit" in Hawaii, where it's taking a full week to unveil its upcoming plans for mobile computing and networks.

Qualcomm is, of course, talking up the Snapdragon 855's 5G capabilities as we get ready to head into the new frontier of the latest and greatest wireless networks. The 855 is the first commercially-available mobile processor that supports multi-gigabit 5G connectivity, hopefully easing our transition into 5G networks without the need for a complicated or inefficient secondary modem.

Consumer-ready 5G networks have yet to be deployed in earnest in the U.S., but Qualcomm is getting ahead of the curve by announcing its latest processor and modem so that it can be integrated into upcoming smartphones as the first networks go live. It's also working hand-in-hand with network partners for their 5G deployments, so that we hopefully don't have to wait so long for the next-generation networks.

The forthcoming 855 has a whole host of other improvements over the current Snapdragon 845, including dedicated AI processing and XR (extended reality) processing for the future of mobile device capabilities. It also has an all-new computer vision ISP (image signal processor) for new computational photography processing and video capture improvements. Qualcomm quoted a 3X performance improvement over the last-generation 845, and up to a 2X improvement over competitors' 7nm processors.

What hasn't yet been revealed is how the overall CPU and GPU performance has increased, how much more efficient it is than the previous generation, and how all of these changes will manifest themselves in real-world use-cases.

Qualcomm plans to unveil more details about the Snapdragon 855 at its Tech Summit conference, which is ongoing this week. That's when we'll start to unpack all of the improvements.

Andrew Martonik
  • Oh what a Microbomb
  • Is it 10nm still?
  • It is built on 7nm
  • Qualcomm is fighting to maintain their reputation/market perception after Apple showed off their A12 Bionic processor (and T2 biometric chip) as the standards in the industry, rivalling top-of-the-line Intel chips for performance. This is also good news for next-generation ultra-mobile hardware, meaning potentially smaller devices with greater capabilities.
  • Agreed. I've read this is a massive jump in performance and efficiency. This is the time for Windows on ARM. Imagine, i5 performance. Fanless design.
    20+ hour actual performance. If MS can just get more stuff running native on ARM, whose performance is more than adequate for office automation (email, browsing, Office) This could make an unbelievable device. I will get an 855 Windows device as soon as one is available. Exciting
  • Considering 845/850 devices are just becoming available, it will probably be a year before these are Windows compatible. Why can't Microsoft support ARM hardware at launch? Why are they always a year behind?
  • You are aware that Qualcomm is just announcing new product here?
    It will be at least 6 months before anyone sees anything in the pipeline, and phone manufacturers tend to get the first batches before anyone else because of existing volume purchasing contracts (Samsung, LG, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.)
    MS has to do extensive regression testing and re-write the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) of W10 to work properly with the new hardware (not to mention all the new driver code to support new/changed features.)
    You won't see any product from MS with these new chipsets until the next Surface refresh in the Fall because of that.
  • Samsung will have it in a couple months, just like every year. Microsoft will be several months after when we are getting "excited" for the SD865.
  • No chip by Apple can be an industry standard if only they use it. And that's the problem with Apple, they don't care about standards, only about selling their stuff.
  • You are correct, but, Apple is justifiably so because they have resource to build their own SoC, The device, the Os and software, So, they can afford not follow or capable of bending the standards some since it will only happen on their device.
  • I think "industry standard" is probably the wrong words. Industry leading is a better description. At least for the next 6 months, until someone else leapfrogs Apple. 😎
  • The 855 chip doesn't come with embedded 5G radio, rather a separate module that MFRs need to buy seprately and install next to the main chip.