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Qualcomm just announced its own $1,500 phone — but who’s it for?

A phone with no name

Qualcomm just announced its own $1,500 phone — but who’s it for?
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Qualcomm is a very well-known name when it comes to producing processors (like the one in your phone) and modems. So it feels bizarre to write that the company is now releasing a phone — and it’ll cost a whopping $1,500.

The phone has no official name and is just called a Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders. The marketing team clearly wasn’t bothered about it. Qualcomm said that it built the phone with the help of Asus. It will be initially available in China, Germany, the UK, and the US starting next month.

The phone’s specifications suggest that it can compete with any Android flagship released this year — at least on paper. It has an impressive screen, beefy RAM and storage numbers, and 65W fast charging technology. Let’s take a look at the phone’s star-studded specs heet:

Specifications

  • Screen: 6.78-inch FHD+ AMOLED display
  • Refresh rate: 144Hz (adaptive)
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Rear camera: 64-megapixel main sensor with f/1.8 aperture (Sony IMX686) + 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 aperture + 8-megapixel telephoto camera (3x optical zoom) with optical image stabilization (OIS)
  • Front camera: 24-megapixel
  • Internal storage: 512 UFS 3.1 (for faster read and write speeds to open apps and access content quickly)
  • Battery: 4,000 mAh
  • Charging: Qualcomm QC 5.0 compatible; ships with a 65W adapter
  • Software: Android 11

Apart from having top-notch main components, Qualcomm also packs truly wireless buds by Master & Dynamic with active noise cancellation in the box. Plus, the phone features dual-stereo speakers and HDR mics for recording. 

Master & Dynamic Earphones Case
Master & Dynamic Earphones Case

All of this sounds great, but why does Qualcomm want me to buy their phone? If it’s for gaming chops, Asus, its hardware partner for this phone, makes perfectly capable RoG (Republic of Gamers) phones.

And if I’m spending $1,500 on a phone, might well as get the best camera for that price in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Qualcomm hasn’t specified if its aim is to test new software platforms or give access to unreleased features for developers.

All in all, while this phone sounds impressive on paper, but it’s hard to get my head around throwing $1,500 at a chip maker’s phone.

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