Qualcomm’s new phone chip offers ‘lifelike gaming’, supports bezel-free screens

Qualcomm has debuted a brand new smartphone chip that’s supposed to bring flagship-grade features to mid-range handsets: the Snapdragon 636.

In a bid to power even more of the world’s smartphones, Qualcomm has launched a successor to this year’s mid-range Snapdragon 630 chip at a press event in Hong Kong, attended by Trusted Reviews. Dubbed the Snapdragon 636, the new chipset supposedly boasts an incredible 40% boost to performance compared to the Snapdragon 630.

Probably the most useful upgrade, however, is the new support for ultra-wide FHD+ displays. Ultra-wide screens on smartphones are becoming increasingly common, as more phone makers try to reduce bezel thickness and fill more of the front of their phones with display.

This feature is bolstered by what Qualcomm calls “Assertive Display”. This feature is reminiscent of Apple’s True Tone technology, and “optimises the visibility of the display in all lighting conditions”.

Qualcomm has also kitted its 14nm chip out with an advanced Adreno 509 GPU – a powerful chipset that’s also designed by the US chipmaker. The bold claim is that we’ll see a 10% boost to gaming and browsing performance compared to the previous generation, which Qualcomm reckons will support an “unprecedented gaming experience with lifelike visuals”.

Speaking about the announcement, Kedar Kondap, VP of Product Management at Qualcomm, said: “The introduction of the Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform allows OEMs to enjoy a smooth transition from the Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile Platforms while supporting the deployment of superior functionality and performance to end users.”

He went on: “Manufacturers can use the same modem and camera architecture to enable fast and efficient testing and calibration, cutting down on significant resources or time normally required when developing products on brand new platforms.”

So when will we see this chip out in the wild? Well Qualcomm promises that the Snapdragon 636 will begin shipping to its own customers as soon as November 2017, so we’d expect to see the chip appearing in smartphones circa early 2018. Qualcomm designs chips that are used by leading brands, including the likes of Samsung, Apple and LG, so we should certainly see it get some use in the mainstream.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S9

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