Qualcomm has announced its flagship System on a Chip (SoC) for 2019: the Snapdragon 855. As Qualcomm has basically no competition at the high-end SoC market—especially in the US—the Snapdragon 855 will be headed to almost every flagship Android phone that ships in 2019. Compared to 2018’s chip, the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm is promising a 45 percent faster CPU, a 20 percent faster GPU, and platform work that will usher in the era of 5G connectivity.
So how is the Snapdragon 855 different from its predecessor, the Snapdragon 845? First, we’re getting smaller transistors. The Snapdragon 845 was built on Samsung’s 10nm semiconductor manufacturing process, but the 855 is moving to TSMC’s 7nm process. A smaller manufacturing process comes with the benefit of lower power consumption and smaller chips, and the 7nm node puts the Snapdragon 855 on par with Apple, which shipped the 7nm A12 Bionic SoC in the iPhone XS earlier this year.