Qualcomm debuted an in-screen sensor that's capable of detecting a fingerprint. Getty

There is a new rumor, which suggests Samsung may have in the works, a Galaxy S8 Lite or Galaxy S8 Mini model, which could possibly run a Qualcomm Snapdragon 840 chip. The evidence appears damning, as a Geekbench benchmark has surfaced detailing a Samsung device with the model number SM-G9600 and a motherboard codenamed sdm840. As per the initials, sdm840 could stand for “Snapdragon model 840,” which is what currently propels this rumor. However, it seems unlikely that a Qualcomm Snapdragon 840 chip would power a low-spec Galaxy S8 model. Here’s why.

Why would a next-generation SoC have lower specs than the current SoC?

On principle, a higher series number (840) would indicate a next-generation chip with more powerful specs than the chip currently on the market. However, PhoneArena described the supposed Snapdragon 840 chip as a modified version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S8 Lite With Qualcomm 840 CPU Surfaced In Benchmarks

According to the benchmark, the chip includes a single quad-core processor clocking in at 1.77 GHz. Qualcomm’s current system on a chip is the Snapdragon 835, an octa-core chip, featuring two quad-core processors, both of which clock in faster than the aforementioned SoC. There is simply no sense to the Snapdragon 840 being less powerful and having fewer components than the Snapdragon 835. Even the Snapdragon 653, Qualcomm’s most powerful mid-range SoC is more complex than the chip being called the Snapdragon 840.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 currently runs on devices such as the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. It is rumored to be the chip for the still unreleased Galaxy S8 Active and Galaxy Note 8. The Snapdragon 835 includes features such as gigabit download speeds and Quick Charge 4.0. Any 800 series Snapdragon chip releasing after the 835 would be a next-generation component, expected to have more powerful features.

In fact, there are already reports of Qualcomm engineers bragging about the specs on the Snapdragon 845 chip, which supposedly includes a 1.2 GBit/s downlink for the SoC’s X20 modem. It seems highly implausible that the Snapdragon 840 should ever be comparable in power to the Snapdragon 820 and still be considered a next-generation chip. WCCFTech noted the benchmarks could have been altered to detail incorrect information.

Qualcomm has done a bit of rebranding

In the past, Qualcomm has released a pair of premium chips each year, with one chip being slightly more powerful than the other. There was the Snapdragon 800 and 801, the Snapdragon 805 and 810 and the Snapdragon 820 and 821. However, the Snapdragon 835 officially released solo in January 2017.

As mentioned, a Qualcomm engineer revealed publicly, details about the Snapdragon 845 in June. However, there have been reports about the chip since May. Korean publication, The Investor, indicated that the Snapdragon 845 could potentially power devices such as the LG G7 and the Samsung Galaxy S9. Until now, there has been no real indication of a Snapdragon 840 chip being in development.

Samsung’s Mini/Light version history

While Samsung hasn’t released a lower-spec version of its flagship devices in several generations, there have been several models released in the past.

The Galaxy S3 Mini and the premium Galaxy S3 both power the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip. This was before Qualcomm rebranded to the Snapdragon 200, 400, 600 and 800 series. After those devices were the Galaxy S4, which featured the Snapdragon 600 and the Galaxy S4 Mini, which featured the Snapdragon 400. The last truncated Galaxy S device was the Galaxy S5 Mini, which also featured the Snapdragon 400 chip, while the Galaxy S5 was powered by the Snapdragon 801.

Particularly because these devices had other truncated features, such as less RAM and internal storage and less powerful displays, cameras and batteries, there was never any need for them to feature the next-generation chips of that time.

When would the Galaxy S8 Lite/Mini launch?

While there have been murmurs about Qualcomm’s next 800 series chip(s), it is well known that the manufacturer doesn’t unveil such components until much later in the year. This is largely because the chips are intended for smartphones, which will release in the coming year (IE: LG G7, Galaxy S9 in 2018). The Snapdragon 835 was unveiled in November 2016 before releasing, first on the Samsung Galaxy S8 in April 2017 and then on other devices, such as the HTC U11 and the OnePlus 5.

Read: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Announced With Samsung 10nm FinFET Technology And Quick Charge 4.0

If a Galaxy S8 Lite/Mini model were to release, it would likely be available in 2017, once again making the Snapdragon 840/845 an implausible feature for the smartphone. Keep in mind, consumers are still waiting for the Snapdragon 835-powered Galaxy S8 Active to hit AT&T shelves (the Galaxy S7 Active released in June 2016).

Once the Galaxy Note 8 launches, possibly sometime in August, most of Samsung’s attention will likely shift to its 2018 flagship devices, making the launch of any other Galaxy S8 variants unlikely.

Other Samsung devices released in 2017 may include new Galaxy A and Galaxy J models. Such devices often feature Samsung’s own Exynos brand chips rather than Qualcomm chips and typically aren’t marketed for the U.S.

Only Samsung can confirm for sure whether a Galaxy S8 Lite/Mini model will release, and only Qualcomm can confirm whether a Snapdragon 840 chip will release. At this time, the odds don’t appear in their favor.