Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 chip could usher in the first affordable 5G phones
Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 might be the big news out of the company’s annual Snapdragon Tech Summit, but the company also announced details about its other new chip, the midrange Snapdragon 765. The 765 might actually be the more interesting of the two, thanks to its integrated 5G modem and its likely future of powering cheaper, midrange devices.
Right now, there’s not a lot of 5G devices out there, and the ones that are around tend to be very expensive. The upcoming 865 might help with that. By default, it’ll only work with the X55 5G modem, meaning every Android flagship with a Snapdragon 865 (i.e., nearly all of them) will, in theory, be a 5G phone next year. But even cheaper Android phones with Qualcomm’s top processor tend to cost upwards of $750. 700-series chips, on the other hand, are found in far cheaper phones, like HMD’s Nokia phones, which hit much lower prices.
It’s a much lower barrier to entry for 5G than anything currently available, and it could be a big part of making the next-generation network accessible to more customers, not just those who are willing to shell out for the top phones.
In fact, it’s possible that the Snapdragon 765 will enable better 5G experiences than phones with the 865. That’s because, unlike the Snapdragon 865, the 765 has a less powerful X52 modem. It’s capable of lower speeds (maxing out at 3.7 Gbps, instead of the 7 Gbps the X55 is theoretically capable of). But it has a big advantage: that 5G modem is integrated directly in the 765 chipset, meaning it should offer improved power efficiency (and, therefore, battery life) than the X55, which is its own separate chip. It’ll also support a wider range of 5G standards than the current X50 modem, with Qualcomm promising support for mmWave and sub-6GHz, standalone and non-standalone 5G, and TDD and FDD with Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) network types.
As for the Snapdragon 765’s performance, Qualcomm is promising improvements in AI processing and better support for multiple camera systems. There’s also a Snapdragon 765G variant that features a new Qualcomm Adreno 620 GPU, which the company says offers up to 20 percent improved performance over the standard Snapdragon 765. (It’s a similar idea to the Snapdragon 855 Plus.)
Qualcomm says to expect to see phones with both the Snapdragon 765 and 765G in the first quarter of 2020.