Next year's premium smartphones may get Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chip

The next-generation Snapdragon 835 will be faster and smaller than the 820 and 821 chips, which power devices like Samsung's Galaxy S7

Snapdragon 835

The Snapdragon 835 chip is shown off by Keith Kressin, senior vice president of product management at Qualcomm and Ben Suh, senior vice president of foundry marketing at Samsung, in New York at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Technology Summit.

Credit: Qualcomm

If you plan to buy a premium smartphone next year, here's an important detail: The handset may be equipped with Qualcomm's next-generation Snapdragon 835 chip, which was announced on Thursday.

What does this mean for you? Expect a snappier smartphone. The Snapdragon 835 will be the company's fastest mobile chip, so it'll deliver better graphics, application performance, and faster LTE service.

Smartphones based on the chip will be released next year, Qualcomm said. There's a strong possibility that Samsung's Galaxy S8 -- due for release early next year -- will use the chip. Phone makers LG and HTC could also use Snapdragon 835. The three companies have often turned to Qualcomm for chips on their premium phones.

In addition to better performance, smartphones using the chips will be more power efficient, meaning either longer battery life or the ability to squeeze more graphics and application performance while preserving battery life.

The Snapdragon 835 will also allow smartphones to charge faster. The chip supports Quick Charge 4, which provides up to a 50 percent battery charge in about 15 minutes via a USB-C port. Qualcomm said the feature will work on Android 7.0, but Google has recommended the use of standard USB chargers, which can be slower.

The new chip will succeed the Snapdragon 820 and 821 chips. The 821 chip is used in handsets like the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, which is designed for augmented reality. The Snapdragon 820 is used in handsets like Samsung's Galaxy S7, LG's G5, and HTC's 10.

Snapdragon 835 will be based on Qualcomm's next-generation architecture, which will be detailed at CES in Las Vegas early next year.

A company spokeswoman declined to provide additional details on the new chip. But there are clues pointing to rough performance metrics and to battery improvements.

The chip is made using Samsung's 10-nanometer process, which will bring performance and power benefits. Chip companies often seek out the latest manufacturing technologies for faster and more power efficient chips.

Samsung claims the 10-nm process could make chips up to 27 percent faster and 40 percent more power efficient when compared to the company's older 14-nm manufacturing process. These numbers could go up or down based on how Qualcomm configures the chip.

The Snapdragon 835 will also be smaller, which means the upcoming smartphones could be thinner. Samsung is just starting to make chips using the 10-nm process, and the new chip will likely be the first in smartphones made using the manufacturing process.

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