KEY POINTS

  • Qualcomm recently unveiled Snapdragon 865 
  • The company is reportedly so obsessed with 5G it is sacrificing the performance of 4G
  • Snapdragon 865 will just make smartphones worse, says report.

The American Semicon and telecom equipment company Qualcomm recently unveiled its flagship SoC for next year, the Snapdragon 865. This powerful chip is anticipated to be in higher-end Android smartphones in 2020, which boasts a 25 percent increase in speed compared to its predecessor. Surprisingly, Qualcomm designed the LTE modem in the SD 865, which it does not have, claims Ars Technica.

This only means that almost every flagship Android smartphone will be a 5G phone next year. But, placing the 5G and 4G on a massive extra chip would mean smartphones bearing it are going to utilize more juice, regardless of which connectivity network it is connected to. 5G networks will be at its infancy stage next year, which appears like using this technology sounds like a downgrade, says Ars Technica's Ron Amadeo.

Qualcomm advertising Attendees wait in line for a 5G exhibition at the Qualcomm booth during CES 2019 consumer electronics show. Qualcomm has won a legal round against Apple at the USITC. Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

This year, the 4G connectivity network had a huge size and power advantage compared to 5G because of the all in one SoC with an integrated modem solution. However, next year, Qualcomm is so desperate with the next generation connectivity network that it is making the current generation connectivity network worse, says report. Several tech sites have been railing against premature 5G hardware from Qualcomm because of several reasons.

This includes the fact that the network it supports hardly exists. Additionally, the hardware entails major compromise in terms of smartphone design. The major reason a smartphone works so well is because of the SoC or the System on a Chip. This small but powerful chip combines every essential computing component into a single chip. 

This combines every major computing component onto a single chip, which you can see in the diagram above. There's a CPU, GPU, an "ISP" for camera functionality, a Qualcomm "Hexagon" co-processor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and—in every flagship SoC released in the last seven years  except  for the Snapdragon 865—an onboard cellular modem. Mashing everything into a single chip saves power, and it saves space, which means room for a bigger battery. 

We have already witnessed in the past what happens when Android smartphones ship with separate modems, and they were epic disasters, just look at HTC Thunderbolt. The smartphone is slow, has bugs, hot, and has a battery life that only lasts for a few hours. It was disappointing that HTC employees apologized for releasing the smartphone model. The 2019 5G package of Qualcomm was Snapdragon 855 with a separate X50 modem.