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Is the Snapdragon 810 dead and buried?

LG launched its long-awaited G4 yesterday and one very interesting omission was the lack of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor, the much-maligned chip that was rumoured to have overheating issues.

Instead, LG chose to go with the previous iteration of the SoC, the Snapdragon 808, and now Qualcomm is having to go on a charm offensive to reassure users that the 810 wasn’t dropped due to its widely reported thermal issues.

Qualcomm’s head of marketing, Tim McDonough, told CNET that LG made the decision to go with the Snapdragon 808 “over a year ago” and reiterated the company line that the Snapdragon 810 was a-okay. All this despite LG being one of the only adopters of the 810 so far, for the LG G Flex 2.

According to another spokesperson for Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 808 was chosen to give the LG G4 a better mix of power and battery life, but it’s hard to see how an older chip design would deliver optimal performance when a brand new design could not, unless the new design wasn’t functioning as it should.

Reports of the Snapdragon 810’s thermal issues have been circulating for months now and independent tests, such as those carried out on the HTC One M9 by the popular XDA Developers Forum, have shown that the chip most certainly does have overheating issues.

In fact, rumours circulated online when the G Flex 2 emerged that the Korean company had to deliberately limit the processor’s abilities, to prevent the phone from heating up.

Other manufacturers were also concerned with the chip’s performance. Some of the biggest flagship phones launched in 2015 – including the LG G4 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 – were apparently put on hold, while Qualcomm allegedly investigated and tried to fix what was causing the problems.

Back in February it was reported that a “large customer” had opted not to use the latest chip from Qualcomm. At the time it was presumed to be Samsung and attributed to the company’s wont to use its own Exynos chips, but some now believe it may have been LG who bowed out, fearing backlash from the chip’s issues.

Despite this seemingly overwhelming evidence, Qualcomm has maintained that the chip is doing fine and is functioning as it was intended, as it seeks to limit the losses it would undeniably sustain if it publicly accepted such a prominent flaw in its top-line hardware.

We have faith that Qualcomm can turn things around and will continue to produce market-leading chips for the biggest mobile manufacturers around, but perhaps it’s time to kill the 810 and move onto the next big thing.

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