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Reports: Google, LG, dont want Qualcomms super-expensive Snapdragon 865

Enlarge / The Snapdragon 865.Qualcomm
Qualcomm really threw a wrench into the flagship SoC market fo..

By admin , in Tech , at March 24, 2020

Enlarge / The Snapdragon 865.Qualcomm

Qualcomm really threw a wrench into the flagship SoC market for 2020 with the Snapdragon 865. The new chip was a big departure from previous years thanks to Qualcomm's aggressive push for 5G, which comes with design requirements that make phones bigger, hotter, and more expensive than previous years. While we've already seen Samsung and many Chinese OEMs step up with 865-powered super-flagships that are more expensive than ever, for some OEMs, it seems like the cost is just too high. A pair of recent reports indicated that both Google and LG are skipping out on the Snapdragon 865 this year, opting instead for a cheaper chip.

For Google's next flagship smartphone, the Pixel 5, a few signs have popped up indicating it won't use the Snapdragon 865. Pixel phones always pop-up in the Android code repository with fishy codenames before release, and in January, XDA Developers spotted three devices codenamed "Sunfish," "Redfin," and "Bramble." A recent teardown of the Google camera app gave us definitions for each of these codenames. "Sunfish" was labeled as "photo_pixel_2020_midrange_config," aka the Pixel 4a, while Bramble and Redfin were labeled "photo_pixel_2020_config," which should be the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5 XL.

As reported by XDA in January, the Pixel 5 and 5 XL don't actually use Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 865. In the Android code base, both are running the Snapdragon 765G, a chip that's one step down from the 865 in Qualcomm's lineup. There isn't actually a Snapdragon 865 Google phone in the Android repository.

Korean site Naver reports that LG is taking a similar approach to its 2020 flagship, the LG G9 ThinQ: instead of shipping the 865, the company is also opting for the cheaper 765G. HMD did the same thing recently with the launch of the Nokia 8.3.

The cost of smartphones is too damn high!

There haven't been many yet, but the Snapdragon 865 flagships we've seen so far have been more expensive than ever. The Samsung Galaxy S20 starts at $1,000 for the smallest version and tops out at $1,400 for the S20 Ultra. Last year, the Galaxy S10e started at $750, the S10 was $900, and the S10+ was $1,000. Sony's Xperia 1 II costs €1,199 ($1,287) in Europe, while the Sony Xperia 1 from 2019 was only €799 ($857).

There are several reasons for the higher price. First, the Snapdragon 865 has taken a step backward in terms of SoC integration from previous years. The SoC has no onboard modem—instead, it offloads the 4G and 5G connectivity to a separate chip called the X55 Modem. Qualcomm mandates that the 865 must be bundled with the X55 modem, making 5G a requirement for any Snapdragon 865 phone. The extra chip takes up more space in the phone, it costs more, and it needs a more complicated motherboard design. If OEMs want to deliver on the speed promises of 5G, they need mmWave, which requires several extra RF modules to be placed around the phone. mmWave functionality is optional, and for the relatively cheaRead More – Source