Published in Mobiles

Snapdragon 820 SoC might cost $70

by on18 March 2016

Compared to $30 for Helio X20

Qualcomm is definitely back in the high-end phone game with the Snapdragon 820. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5, two flagship phones, are using the Qualcomm chip, and now the China based analyst quoted by our colleagues claims the Snapdragon 820 might cost Qualcomm as much as $70 per SoC.

This is high-end market but the same unnamed analyst claims that MediaTek is selling its high-end Helio X20 SoC for around $30 per SoC. Unfortunately, our colleagues don’t give any hint about the source, which makes us take this information with a grain of salt.

We are sure that companies like Samsung and LG don’t end up paying the same price as the smaller companies. Still, $70 is probably the pricing for the complete solution. Again, however, the Helio X20 is also a whole end-to-end SoC solution that sells for more than two times less than Qualcomm's chip.

Of course, this is one of the main reasons why we end up seeing some seriously phone specs from China using Helio X20 rather than Snapdragon 820. If you look at the Helio X20's three-cluster design, the top high-performance cluster has 2.3GHz dual-core Cortex-A72s, the mid cluster has four Cortex-A53s clocked at 2GHz, and the power-aware cluster has four Cortex-A53s clocked at 1.4GHz.

This should ultimately give Helio X20 a good battery life. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 820 has four custom Kryo cores that are doing rather good job when it comes to performance, a great and dominant GPU as well as superior wireless and LTE performance.

The only competitor from the house of Qualcomm powered with Cortex-A72 units is the Snapdragon 650. This is a hexa-core design with two Cortex-A72 cores up to 1.8GHz, and four Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.4GHz. It doesn’t take a scientist to see that the Snapdragon 650 should clearly lose to the Helio X20.

We can only assume that if Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 is priced at $70, that the Snapdragon 650 might end up selling for roughly half that, or even a comparable price to the Helio X20 in case the China-based analyst is right about a $30 USD price per SoC.

The match is clear – MediaTek needs to sell two times the amount of chips in order to make the same revenue as Qualcomm, and unknown variables here are how much profit margins each company makes with their sales. One can imagine that most device makers out of China will end up using Helio X20 for flagship phones, as it is simply cheaper. But MediaTek numbers will probably grow this year, one reason because of high-end deals with Meizu, a company that is likely to grow again in 2016.

Xiaomi is playing another game, buying SoCs from both for its entry-level and mainstream phones, leveling the playing field and you should always mind Xiaomi, as the company sold 73 million phones last year.

Last modified on 18 March 2016
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