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Here's why we haven't seen more Snapdragon 780G phones
- A Xiaomi executive says there’s not enough capacity to make Snapdragon 780G phones.
- You may have to ‘settle’ for the 778G instead.
- The issue comes amid a broader chip shortage.
Have you noticed that few phones are using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 780G chip despite the company pitching it as the mainstream chip for 2021? There might be a good explanation. A Xiaomi executive on Weibo claimed that insufficient capacity has led to a dearth of 780G devices, and that the chips were reportedly out of production.
We’ve asked Qualcomm for comment.
The exec didn’t elaborate on why the Snapdragon 780G was hard to find. However, it’s also built using a 5-nanometer manufacturing process that remains cutting edge and thus in high demand. Combine a global chip shortage with fierce competition for available 5nm supply (Apple’s A14 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 are two prominent examples) and the 780G may be difficult to justify.
Read more: Snapdragon system-on-chip guide
As you might have guessed, though, Qualcomm appears to already have a solution in hand. The more recently announced Snapdragon 778G offers many of the features of the 780G while using a more conservative 6nm process. It’s not quite as powerful, but it’s close enough that phone vendors like Xiaomi, Motorola, and Oppo can use it without feeling like they’ve taken a significant step backward. You might not even notice the difference in real-world applications.
The question, of course, is whether or not you’ll see many Snapdragon 780G phones going forward. That’s a difficult question to answer. If production problems are the culprit, a solution might depend on whether or not 5nm supply can improve quickly enough to justify designing and shipping 780G-based phones. Extended production troubles could make it easier to ‘settle’ for the 778G, use a lower-end chip, or even skip a device entirely.