Qualcomm has built smartphone components, including processors and fingerprint readers, for years, and now it has decided to make an entire handset of its own.
Manufactured for the chip company by Asus, the 5G phone has the somewhat clunky name of Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders. It runs Android 11 and includes the specifications of a flagship.
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These specs include 512GB of storage, 16GB of RAM, a 6.78-inch QLED display from Samsung with a 144Hz refresh rate, and Qualcomm's own rear-mounted fingerprint reader. Naturally, the phone is powered by a Qualcomm processor.
But interestingly, it is the Snapdragon 888 chip and not the recently announced (and more powerful) Snapdragon 888 Plus.
The phone comes bundled with a pair of custom $300 wireless earphonesQualcomm
The battery has a 4,000mAh capacity and supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 5 standard, meaning 65W recharging. Around the back you will find a triple camera setup featuring a 64-megapixel Sony image sensor, an ultrawide lens in front of a 12-megapixel Sony sensor, and a 3x telephoto lens in front of an eight-megapixel sensor. There is also a 24-megapixel front-facing camera.
Below the rear camera and fingerprint reader sits an illuminated Snapdragon logo, but otherwise the phone looks much like most other Android handsets.
Other extras include USB-C, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, as well as hi-fi music playback at up to 24-bit 96kHz. Crucially, the phone offers a pure Android experience with none of the so-called bloatware seen on handsets from other manufacturers. The user interface should be a lot like that of Google's Pixel phones.
In a bid to help soften the blow of spending $1,500 on the Qualcomm phone, it comes bundled with a pair of $300 wireless earphones, in the form of the Master & Dynamic MW08. These are finished in blue to match the phone and include bespoke Snapdragon branding and logos.
We don't expect this phone to sell in huge numbers – Apple and Samsung won't be kept up at night, and OnePlus probably won't either – but it feels like a logical step for Qualcomm to make, even if the result is more sales of components to other manufacturers instead of sales of the phone itself.