To say 2015 hasn’t been a great year for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon flagship would be a severe understatement. The Snapdragon 810 was supposed to be the latest and greatest processor. Instead words like ‘overheating’ and ‘throttling’ accompanied any talk of the 810 in a new phone throughout the year. The disaster began in January with the LG G Flex 2 and continued with the HTC One M9 a few months later. By the time we arrived at the release of the G4, LG opted for the Snapdragon 808 instead of the 810 to curtail any heating concerns.
Recently several slides emerged out of China claiming to detail the specs and performance improvements for the 820. This is the first chip with Qualcomm’s new custom ARM core, codenamed Hydra. The leaked slides claim a 35% performance increase over the Cortex-A57 ARM reference core. This will be a quad-core chip rather than an octa-core configuration used for the Snapdragon 810. The GPU is also seeing a bump to the Adreno 530, with any accompanying 40% improvement in performance and 30% efficiency boost.
The Snapdragon 820 will be based on a 14nm manufacturing process (810-20nm), which hopefully will alleviate any overheating concerns in 2016 flagships. The 820 will also support cameras up to 28MP with a programmable DSP, low-power sensors, and LPDDR4 memory. While we expect the 820 to arrive to OEMS like Samsung, HTC, and LG by year-end, it is most likely that we won’t see the chip in any phones until the arrival of the early-2016 flagships. Some reports claim Huawei will feature this chip in their 5.7″ Nexus phone in 2015, but this seems pretty unlikely from what we now know. This SoC looks to be a beast, all things considered. There are rumors that Qualcomm will formally announce the Snapdragon 820 on August 11. We will definitely keep an eye out for official specs soon!
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