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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Plus brings a performance boost to flagship phones

Qualcomm wants to take the Snapdragon 855 to the next level before it presumably unveils a newer chip at the end of the year. The company has taken the wraps off of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus, which is aimed at acting as a modest upgrade to the original Snapdragon 855. According to Qualcomm, the new, slightly more powerful chip is aimed at delivering 5G, mixed reality, and artificial intelligence, along with a better mobile gaming experience.

The chipset brings a few performance tweaks to the Snapdragon 855, and will likely appear in upcoming flagship phones that get released between now and December, which is when Qualcomm traditionally has released its flagship chipsets.

So what’s new? Well, while the original Snapdragon 855 offered a Kryo 485 CPU with a clock speed of 2.84GHz, the Snapdragon 855 Plus steps things up to a so-called Kryo 485 Prime CPU, which offers a clock speed of 2.96GHz. The Snapdragon 855 Plus also features an Adreno 640 GPU that Qualcomm says has been tuned to offer a 15% performance increase over the Adreno 640 in the original Snapdragon 855.

“Snapdragon 855 Plus will raise the bar for elite gamers with the increase in CPU and GPU performance and elevate experiences for 5G, gaming, A.I., and XR, which is something our OEM customers look to us to deliver,” said Kedar Kondap, vice president of product management at Qualcomm, in a statement.

This isn’t the first time Qualcomm has released a small upgrade to a chip before the launch of a new flagship. The company released the Snapdragon 821 in July 2016, which served as a small upgrade to the Snapdragon 820. The Snapdragon 821 offered a 10% performance increase over the Snapdragon 820, but otherwise offered similar features. A few phones were released with the Snapdragon 821, including the original Google Pixel, the LG G6, and the HTC U Ultra.

According to Qualcomm, phones with the Snapdragon 855 Plus are expected to ship in the second half of 2019, meaning that phones like the Google Pixel 4 may well ship with the new chip. Even the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 may feature the Snapdragon 855 Plus, though given the Galaxy Note 10 is expected to be released on August 7, it may still offer the original Snapdragon 855.

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