Home >mint-lounge >features >Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 is an interim chip for this fall’s Android phones

Chip maker Qualcomm has announced a new flagship mobile processor. It’s called the Snapdragon 821 (model designation is MSM8996 Pro), and is essentially an incremental update over the Snapdragon 820 chip and promises certain performance gains. The latter, which debuted in smartphones earlier this year, has been extremely popular in Android smartphones.

The Snapdragon 821 builds upon 820’s features, and provides a 10% performance increase. Just like the 820, the new 14-nanometer Snapdragon 821 also features two high-performance Kryo cores that run at a higher clock speed and kick in when needed, and the two battery-savvy Kryo cores that run at a slower speed for most tasks while also saving power. The 821’s quad-core CPU runs the high performance cores at 2.4GHz, which is an increase from 2.2GHz in the Snapdragon 820. We do not yet know if the lower power cores will also get a speed boost, from the current 1.6GHz. Another critical boost is the graphics chip, which now gets a clock speed boost from 624MHz to 650MHz.

The company says that the Snapdragon 821 chip will debut in smartphones and other devices in the second half of this year.

As a chip maker, Qualcomm did not have the best of 2015—the troubles around the Snapdragon 810 processor left a sour taste for a lot of users who purchased the expensive flagship Android phones around that time. The significant heating issues led to performance slowdown and battery drain, an experience no smartphone maker would like to showcase with their expensive devices. But, the Snapdragon 820 has been fantastic in terms of performance and battery life, and has powered almost every flagship Android smartphone launched this year, including Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge (in certain markets other than India), HTC 10 and the LG G5, and also some more affordable flagship killers such as the OnePlus 3, LeEco Le Max 2 and the Xiaomi Mi5.

Also see: OnePlus 3 vs LeEco Le Max2: What two Android flagship killers offer

Google has solid reasons to build its own Android phone

It is still anyone’s guess which phones will run the Snapdragon 821 chip later this year. Chances are that one version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will probably run this chip. The Asus ZenFone 3 could also run the latest flagship processor. But all eyes are on the upcoming Google Nexus phones—if Google wants to set the benchmark for Android smartphone manufacturers to follow, it will want to pack in the latest top-line processor to power the Android Nougat experience.

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