Samsung fans have been buckled into a fairly expensive ride with the last few devices the Korean company has launched, from the impressive Galaxy S20 Ultra starting at £1,199, to the novelty of the foldable Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Flip, priced at at £1,199 and £1,299 respectively.
Unfortunately, it looks like things are about to get even more pricey for Samsung - along with other Android smartphone manufacturers who opt for Qualcomm's 5G chips.
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The price of the (unannounced) Snapdragon 875 processor has reportedly leaked, and it's pegged to be $100 more expensive than the 865 chip utilised in the Samsung Galaxy S20, and a number of other Android phones - including the OnePlus 8 Series. All told, the 875 will come in at $250 with its Snapdragon X60 5G modem. Samsung isn't in the same boat as other Android manufacturers, what with its Exynos processors, but they're not quite on a par with Qualcomm.
Google is solving the issue by making its own chips for use in Pixels and Chromebooks, but the Pixel 5 will miss the boat on that one, and ship with Qualcomm's cheaper Snapdragon 765. The existing Snapdragon 865 was an option, but it costs around $150-160 - and that's without the X55 5G modem.
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Qualcomm's processors are to be found in the innards of a slew of Android phones, and as they become more expensive, that cost is either going to have to be balanced out by skimping on other features, like the cameras, or it'll be passed straight along to the the consumer.
This is going to create a market for mid-tier/ budget handsets, as the prices for smartphones skyrockets. OnePlus is getting ahead of the pack now with a new line of affordable smartphones; one of which is the OnePlus Nord, which we're expecting to be unveiled this week.
We may see an exodus of Android users flocking over to Apple, with its wallet-friendly iPhone SE and the upcoming iPhone 12 that's rumoured to start from as little as $549 for the 4G model, and $649 for the 5G variant.
Smartphone prices have been on the rise for a while now, and perhaps Qualcomm's price hike will see a shift in the market as its business customers look into alternative options. It'll be interesting to see what Samsung opts to do with next year's Galaxy S21 when it has its own proprietary processor and Qualcomm's potentially very expensive chip to choose from.