Qualcomm has taken the lid off of the Snapdragon 821, officially dethroning the Snapdragon 820 as the top mobile CPU for Android devices. For better or worse, it’s not a significantly improved chip, and it’s not actually replacing the OG Snapdragon 820 at all, so don’t be too worried about your flagship device being outdated just yet.
As far as actual performance goes, the Snapdragon 821 is about 10% faster than the 820 thanks to its Kryo quad-core CPU that can reach speeds of up to 2.4 GHz. Not a massive generational leap, but still solid for something at the very top of the dog pile. That should also translate into a bit better battery life for devices, too.
The other interesting tidbit from Qualcomm’s announcement is that the Snapdragon 821 isn’t replacing the high-end 820. They’ll both exist alongside each other with the 820 still providing excellent performance in devices like the Galaxy S7 and LG G5, but going forward if an OEM wants a little extra punch, they’ll have an option. Qualcomm says some devices with the 821 should launch in the second half of this year, which might mean we’ll see a pair of Nexus devices bringing the new processor into the wild. The Galaxy Note 7 is probably an unlikely fit, but whatever LG replaces the V10 with could very possibly use the Snapdragon 821, too.
Other than the information on performance and where the new chip fits in Qualcomm’s family, there isn’t much extra data on exactly what’s different about the 821. Expect to see some new features come out as devices start to be announced with the processor.