855 no longer? Latest leaks suggest major upheavals for next SD chipset
The Snapdragon 845 (SD 845) has been thought to be followed up by the SD 855, in keeping with the flagship processor's typical naming scheme. However, a recent leak suggests that this is no longer the case. In addition, the next premier chip from Snapdragon will also be diverting from its predecessors in terms of how it will handle and deliver AI-related tasks.
These reports come to us from the source that gave us the latest rumors about the 5G modem (SDX50) that has been purported to come with the then-855 SoC: WinFuture's Roland Quandt. Now, Quandt asserts that the next major Snapdragon release for smartphones will be known as the 8150, not the 855. This putative change may have been made to comply with a new nomenclature that takes the company's developing involvement in processor supply for ultrabooks into account. Accordingly, the processors that are intended for smartphones will be known as something along the lines of 'SD 81xx', whereas the analogous chipsets for laptops may become known as the Snapdragon 1000 line.
Quandt claims to base these findings on third-party and import/export documentation issued by Snapdragon in connection with its newest processors. There are also indications that the product in question was known as 'SDM855' (much like the 'SDM845' listing of last year) before a change to 'SDM8150' a few months ago. On the other hand, the processor is still known under the same code name ('Hana') as the SD 855.
Furthermore, the newer leaks also allege that the SD 855/8150 will come with a neural processing unit (NPU) for AI tasks, rather than a neural processing engine (NPE) or digital signal processor (DSP) as seen in the SD 845 and 835 respectively. This shift in SoC contents may bring the putative SD 8150 in line with the Kirin 970, and could be intended to compete with the same.
Most importantly, the SD 8150 is reported to be a 7nm processor. However, it may also come without the X50 modem. This suggests that OEMs wishing to make 5G-ready devices may have to buy this component separately.