As far as 5G mobile chipsets are concerned, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 may be the best known, but there’s one problem: it’s as expensive as it’s potent. The company’s latest Snapdragon 690 chipset is a little different — it’s going through much more moderately priced phones instead of running new expensive flagships.
Smartphones that use the high-performance Snapdragon 865, such as the OnePlus 8 and Galaxy S20 series, typically cost around $700 and up. The next step down from there, the 5G-capable Snapdragon 765, can usually be found in devices costing between $500 and $700.
Meanwhile, phones sold between $300 and $400 usually come with the fairly new, LTE-only Snapdragon 675. Although Qualcomm does not make its phones and cannot confirm the cost of the standard Snapdragon 690 phone, it seems clear that the era of the cheap 5G phone is almost here.
“Driving the extension of 5 G into the Snapdragon 6-series can make 5G available to more than 2 billion mobile users worldwide,” said Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon in a statement.
Like the Snapdragon 765 and 865, the 690 only seems good on sub-6 5G networks and not the mmWave networks that have invested heavily in certain wireless carriers. However, this focus on sub-6 is far from unusual. In April, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association found that only about 30 percent of “all advertised 5G devices” support those high-speed mmWave networks.
Nevertheless, Snapdragon 690 phones offer other advantages: they can shoot 4K HDR video on the budget, and still capture images at resolutions of up to 192 megapixels.
Kryo 560 CPU octa-core chipset should be around 20 percent faster than its predecessor and the Adreno 619L GPU onboard will handily equip the one used in the Snapdragon 675.
There is no news on what the first Snapdragon 690 phone that would commercially be available will have, but at least we have a sense of who can produce these phones. HMD Global — Nokia brand stewards — stated that they are using the latest chipset on a mid-range 5G unit, including LG, Motorola, TCL, Clear, and low-profile Wingtech.
But don’t expect to wait much longer: Qualcomm says the first of these devices will crack cover in the second half of 2020. Hope you are ready to gear up for the new decade with 5G to discover new things and make a difference.