Samsung normally uses the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) to showcase its latest and greatest phone. This year is going to be different; the Korean manufacturer will skip making a splash at MWC and will instead save its Galaxy S8 unveiling for another day. Competing companies would naturally rejoice at the chance for a longer spotlight on their own products, but that won’t be the case now.
Whether a recent report from Forbes about Samsung hoarding supplies of Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 835 chipset is true or not, the fact that the processor will debut on the Galaxy S8, which is expected to roll out in April, means every phone brand that uses a Qualcomm processor will have to settle for an older chipset for now.
That’s going to be a major problem for LG, who plans to release its next-generation flagship at MWC 2017. By using the next best processor it can find — the aging Snapdragon 821 — the G6 will have outdated hardware the moment it comes out.
HTC has already been hit with this setback, having launched the overpriced U Ultra in 2017 with hardware created in 2016. Huawei, who’s also expected to reveal its newest flagship at MWC, won’t be dealing with the same problem, because the Chinese manufacturer produces chipsets of its own, and doesn’t rely on third-party components like most brands.
You might now be wondering what the big deal is about using formerly top-shelf processors. If they were great a few months ago, shouldn’t the same chips be enough today? Yes and no.
The Snapdragon 821 and even the slightly older 820 are still powerful by current standards, but as long as you compare them to the just-launched Snapdragon 835, the performance gap is quite significant. You see, Qualcomm’s latest product utilizes a much more efficient design than anything we’ve seen before, beating everything else in high-techness.
We went into more detail about this a couple of weeks ago, when we listed down the key features of the most advanced mobile chip to date. It’s not just about raw computing power or the sheer tininess of the newest Snapdragon; its improvements in several vital aspects, such as wireless connectivity and charging speeds, will set the standard for all mobile benchmarks in 2017.
So, why is Samsung allowed to call dibs on this revolutionary piece of hardware? Because Sammy helped build the Snapdragon 835, and its timing with the launch of the Galaxy S8 is simply perfect.
It’s a problematic situation for LG and other rivals. They must work extra hard in marketing whatever other features their smartphones will have. If the latest G6 leak is anything to go by, LG may have a fighting chance, but the eventual successor to the V20 may be the true culmination of the company’s efforts in 2017, once it’s released late this year with, hopefully, the most updated specifications at that time.