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Here’s why the next-gen Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 might be even more expensive

Published Jun 29th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
Galaxy S21 Rumors
Image: Framesira/Shutterstock

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  • The first rumors related to the Galaxy S21 indicate that Samsung’s first 2021 flagship might be even more expensive than the Galaxy S20.
  • The Snapdragon 875 price has reportedly leaked, and the chip is around $100 more expensive than the 865 platform that powers the Galaxy S20, OnePlus 8 Pro, and other 2020 Android flagships.
  • Xiaomi is reportedly deciding on how to address this cost increase for its next-gen flagships.

With six months left in this awful year, it’s too early to talk about the Android flagships of 2021. But a new report seems to indicate that the Galaxy S21 (or S30), the OnePlus 9, and every other Android flagship that will get the Snapdragon 875 processor from Qualcomm might be more expensive than this year’s flagships. That’s definitely not the kind of rumor Android fans will appreciate, especially given the current landscape. The novel coronavirus pandemic has put millions of people out of a job, and smartphones have been hurt as a result. At the same time, Apple launched a very affordable 2nd-generation iPhone SE, and the upcoming iPhone 12 series is rumored to start as low as $649 for the 5.4-inch model. A 4G-only version of the phone could be priced at $549.

The Galaxy S20 started at $999 when Samsung launched it in mid-February, and we told you at the time the price is just too high considering its biggest rivals were selling for $699. Samsung blamed the poor Galaxy S20 sales on the coronavirus outbreaks, but it’s likely the S20 series wouldn’t have sold any better in a regular year. Comparatively, the iPhone 11 was the best-sold phone of the first quarter.

The OnePlus 8 Pro starts at $899, which makes it cheaper than the Galaxy S20. But the phone is still more expensive than what you’d expect from an OnePlus flagship. The non-Pro version costs $699.

The Pixel 5 will not use the Snapdragon 865 platform because it’s too expensive, a report said. The 865 also requires a separate 4G/5G modem, that’s why Google went with the Snapdragon 765.

A post on a Korean message board says that the Snapdragon 875 Mobile Platform will integrate the Snapdragon X60 5G modem and that the whole package will be priced at $250. That’s about $100 more expensive than the Snapdragon 865, which costs in the range of $150-160. That’s without accounting for the Snapdragon X55 5G modem that comes with the 865 platform.

The post claims that Xiaomi received the $250 quote for the Snapdragon 765, and it’s looking at how to price its next-generation of flagship products. One idea is to go for cheaper camera lenses, the note says. But nothing has been decided.

The Snapdragon 875 hasn’t even been announced, so there’s no way to verify the accuracy of this leak. Assuming it’s real, then handset makers will have to decide soon on whether to reduce their margins or pass the extra cost to consumers. One alternative would be going for processors made by Qualcomm competitors, with MediaTek being one possible choice. Samsung has its Exynos line in place as well, but Samsung’s chips have not impressed Galaxy S20 buyers. Separately, Google is making its own silicon, which would be a first for the Pixel series.

The Galaxy S21 will be among the first Android flagship to launch early next year, right alongside new Xiaomi flagships. The OnePlus 9 series will drop a few months after that.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.