A smartphone chipset is as small as your fingernail, but it’s the heart of every smartphone and lets you click those overtly beautified selfies, limit your social life to Instagram and WhatsApp, and play PUBG without actually having real friends.
Chipmaker Qualcomm just announced an upgraded version of the Snapdragon 865 chipset that will let you do all of the above in a more efficient manner, in the coming year. The chipset promises a ton of new features that will keep you glued to your smartphone and ignore everyone around you in 2020 as well. Jokes aside, there are big improvements this year! So let’s find out what new features smartphone manufacturers will be raving about (and teasing you with) in the coming year.
5G all the way!
Provided Indian cellular operators get things right and sort out their daddy issues, we could be wine-tasting 5G speeds in 2020. Qualcomm, for various reasons, decided to pair its 5G modem instead of integrating one into its flagship chipset, but it will translate buffer-less streaming of the next season of WestWorld or Sex Education on your next smartphone even when you are on the move.
Ever taken a ride in a Rolls Royce? Well, you will never know the comforts a car like that can provide for your derrière until you have sat in one. And once you do, every other car seat, well, feels not up to the mark. The same applies to displays with a faster refresh rate. Once you use a smartphone with a 120Hz (read Asus ROG II) display, there’s literally no going back to a regular 60Hz one. While they feel fluid (and unnecessary), Qualcomm’s upping the ante with its new chipset and will spoil you with displays that support 144Hz (gaming-grade) refresh rates that are currently available on gaming laptops.
Qualcomm’s latest and greatest will get you better photos at the pub. With the megapixel race on, the 865 adds support for camera sensors going all the way up to 200 megapixels. That does not necessarily mean you will be able to capture 200MP shots with zero lag shutter speeds; you will get binned 64MP ones. But with 108MP sensors already out, expect pictures with twice the details (if processed right) and hope that smartphone manufacturers also double up on storage to save those pixel-heavy images.
While the 8K video capture at 15 fps was just a gimmick on Nubia’s Red Magic 3S, Qualcomm literally wants to give you a more useful 8K at 30 fps video recording option. While iPhone users will fret at 8K video, given the paltry 64 GB you get on the pricey base models, Android smartphones are more generous when it comes to storage. There’s also 4K HDR video capture and support for recording in Dolby Vision that will get you some really good cinema-quality videos on your next vacation. It’s safe to say that you may finally be able to leave your camera behind, shoot HDR video and even view it on your HDR-enabled display.
...better, faster, stronger
Apps and games will load and respond faster, which means you will rarely look beyond your phone in the coming year. You get support for faster RAM and an improved GPU that will let you game for longer with better details. And just like graphics cards on your PC, your GPU will also get firmware updates from Qualcomm to improve their performance over time. Just that these firmware updates will be a lot easier to install since they will be available on the Play Store.
Who’s gonna make them?
So far, Xiaomi is the only brand that confirmed the upcoming Mi 10 with a Snapdragon 865 chipset. Other smartphone brands to confirm the launch with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest include Oppo and Lenovo-owned Motorola.