Qualcomm’s annual Tech Summit is underway right now in Maui, Hawaii, and as expected, the company is teasing some major new chipsets: the flagship-class Snapdragon 865 and two variations on a midrange option, called the Snapdragon 765 and 765G. The new chips were introduced on stage by Alex Katouzian, Qualcomm’s general manager for mobile.

While full details will be made public tomorrow, the collective aim of the mobile chips is to “lead and scale 5G and AI in 2020.” Qualcomm will offer 5G phone makers the choice between bleeding edge performance or more affordable options, including one designed to appeal to gamers.

The most widely anticipated chipset is the Snapdragon 865, which the company is simply billing as “the world’s most advanced 5G platform,” designed for flagship smartphones and other devices. Notably, while the 865 promises “unmatched connectivity,” Qualcomm says that the platform includes the company’s standalone Snapdragon X55 5G Modem and RF System rather than a fully integrated modem, and will deliver “truly global 5G.”

This suggests that 5G won’t be a mandatory feature for Snapdragon 865 products. It could also give Qualcomm the opportunity to offer an upgraded 5G modem, whenever one is announced in the future. Unlike flagship Snapdragon CPUs, the company has no specific cadence for modem announcements; it introduced the Snapdragon X55 in mid-February 2019 and its predecessor X50 in October 2016. A third-generation modem is known to be in the works, but performance details are fuzzy at best.

Additional Snapdragon 865 features teased without details include 8K video capture and gigapixel image processing speeds. There will also be a fifth-generation AI engine with natural language processing abilities, and 15 trillion operations per second (TOPS).

By comparison, the Snapdragon 765 and 765G are said to include “integrated 5G connectivity” and “advanced AI processing,” with differentiated Snapdragon Elite Gaming experiences. The “G” designation hints that 765G will be a higher performer for gaming devices, akin to this year’s mid-cycle Snapdragon 855+, which powered several gaming phones.

Additionally, Qualcomm revealed that the 765 chips will have an integrated Snapdragon X52 modem with up to 3.7Gbps downloads, supporting both sub-6GHz and millimeter wave networks. This is notably slower than the peak speeds of Snapdragon X55 modems, but a lot faster than top 4G modems. There will also be a 5 TOPS version of the fifth-generation AI chip, as well as 4K HDR video capture.

Qualcomm will be sharing full details on the 865, 765, and 765G platforms tomorrow, and we’ll be covering the announcements live. The company expects to offer a stream of the reveals here.


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