Qualcomm makes the chips found in virtually every Android phone, but today the company is moving away from its usual role. With some help from Asus, Qualcomm announces its first proprietary phone.
Officially called the Phone for Snapdragon Insiders (which really rolls off the tongue), Qualcomm’s first phone is actually less of an iPhone or Galaxy rival and more of a showcase for Qualcomm technology designed for Qualcomm’s social media audience. , especially those who follow the various Snapdragon channels around the world.
That’s a pretty small group, and while Qualcomm claims it has about 1.6 million Snapdragon Insiders around the world, those numbers don’t seem all that impressive when you consider it. Apple’s Twitter account alone has 6.4 million followers, despite never posting an actual tweet. (All of Apple’s “tweets” are technically paid ads, so they don’t appear as tweets or replies in the Twitter timeline.) Meanwhile, the Samsung Mobile Twitter account has more than 12 million followers.
The smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders is also unusual in that Qualcomm doesn’t really make consumer phones (aside from a handful of reference devices), so the company had to enlist the help of Asus to put this thing together. What we’re really looking at is a phone filled to the brim with diverse Qualcomm tech, but assembled, sold and backed by Asus, with some nice Snapdragon badges scattered across the body.
What you really need to know is that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon phone will cost a whopping $1,500, which is more expensive than any non-foldable phone available from Samsung or Apple. That said, Qualcomm has thrown in a handful of accessories, so let’s take a closer look at what you get for that money.
The Snapdragon phone itself comes with a Snapdragon 888 processor (unfortunately not the newly announced one) Snapdragon 888+) along with a 2448 x 1080 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 144 Hz refresh rate, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage, and a 4000 mAh battery. There will also be a 24-MP front-facing selfie camera and three rear cameras: a 64-MP main camera, a 12-MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and an 8-MP telephoto camera with a 3x optical zoom, which can be used simultaneously to capture both photos and videos. to record videos.
Qualcomm also wants to show off his Snapdragon sound and fast wireless connectivity, meaning the phone also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, along with some of the broadest mobile data support available on any phone. And of course the Snapdragon phone is compatible with all major variants of 5G.
Interestingly, for a handset this expensive, the Snapdragon phone doesn’t have wireless charging, although you do get Qualcomm’s second-generation 3D Sonic fingerprint sensor, although it’s located on the back of the screen instead of an on-screen sensor. phone, above Qualcomm’s glowing Snapdragon logo.
If this doesn’t really sound like a $1,500 phone to you, you’re not alone. To sweeten the deal, Qualcomm throws in a handful of extras in the package, including a braided USB-C cable, a custom rubber bumper, a Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 power brick and, most importantly, a special edition Snapdragon-branded version. from Master and Dynamic’s MW08SI Wireless Earbuds, which typically only sell for $300.
Now those extras should take some of the sting out of the phone’s $1,500 price tag, but one big question remains: why make this thing at all? In a media briefing to the press, Qualcomm marketing leader Mike Roberts said Qualcomm isn’t trying to compete directly with other OEMs because the phone is really meant for Snapdragon Insiders. And if we look at other recent Qualcomm fan-building efforts, such as the launch of the Snapdragon Podcast, that sentiment generally sounds true as Qualcomm continues its efforts to build an audience of mobile chip enthusiasts, possibly to reflect the (sometimes) rabid fanbases we see in the PC market for companies like AMD. , Intel and Nvidia.
But it’s still kind of weird because unlike desktop CPUs or GPUs, the average person can’t quite pull out a mobile processor and install it in their phone. Customers are largely at the mercy of device manufacturers like Samsung, Google or Apple to decide what kind of silicon is used in their handsets.
That makes the Snapdragon phone a bit redundant, and with Asus in charge of actual retail sales, user support, and future updates (the Snapdragon phones will run a relatively standard version of Android 11), it feels like Qualcomm is still a long way from building something it can really call its own. Rumor has it Qualcomm may release its own version of the Nintendo Switch next year, so the chip giant may be using the Snapdragon phone to test the waters before actually entering the consumer market.
Anyway, if for some reason the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders appeals to you, keep an eye on Qualcomm’s social channels today for more information on how to buy one.