There will be no Snapdragon 865+ this year
Qualcomm has released an overclocked version of their flagship chipset ever since the first ROG Phone was introduced, but this time might be different. The Snapdragon 865 will not see a Plus variant this year, if Meizu’s Head of Technology Marketing is to be trusted.
While the reasoning behind it wasn’t discussed, Qualcomm may be responding to lesser demand for the Snapdragon 865 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as that has led to a soft global smartphone market. The cost of the Snapdragon 865 is also relatively high due to the need to pair it with the Snapdragon X55 5G modem, as the Snapdragon 865 doesn’t come with an integrated modem. This has led to OEMs deciding to drop the Snapdragon 865 and instead opt for the lower-end Snapdragon 765G, which curiously comes with an integrated modem.
Couple the fact that OEMs are shying away from the chipset in addition to weakened demand for premium flagship smartphones, Qualcomm probably has no reason to release an even more premium chipset in 2020.
This would make things quite interesting for smartphone makers used to 6-month product cycles. If OnePlus decides to go ahead and launch a OnePlus 8T / 8T Pro, they won’t be able to boast of a faster chipset in the newer device. Probably this is also why Black Shark launched the Black Shark 3 and 3 Pro in one go, instead of offering the Black Shark 3 first and throwing in the newer chipset in the 3 Pro later, like what they did for the Black Shark 2 and Black Shark 2 Pro.
Last year, Qualcomm released a Snapdragon 855 Plus (or 855+) which offered slightly higher CPU and GPU clock speeds, which was offered in the ROG Phone II among a slew of other flagships launched in the later half of 2019. The year before, the ROG Phone was the only one to feature an overclocked Snapdragon 845, which ASUS has proudly marketed as a binned variant of the regular chip.
Pokdepinion: I have found that the Snapdragon 855+ devices to be less efficient than the vanilla variant, which would be a bigger issue for the Snapdragon 865+ with a power hungry Snapdragon X55 5G modem in tow.