Qualcomm and Asus could threaten Samsung Galaxy S21 — here's why

Samsung Galaxy S21 design
(Image credit: Miror pro/YouTube)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 may be getting a new competitor from the very company that will provide its silicon brains.

A DigiTimes report claims that chipmaker Qualcomm is about to enter the smartphone market, with plans to release a phone by as early as the end of the year. It'll be doing this with the help of Asustek Computing, known for its Asus laptops and phones, including the Asus ROG Phone 3.

The report claims that Asus will look after design and hardware, while Qualcomm will work on the industrial design (the more practical side of deciding how a phone looks inside and out) and software integration with its new Snapdragon 875 chipset, the company's expected flagship silicon for 2021.

Both companies will share components with their phones too. We should therefore expect this new Qualcomm device to sport similar features to a ROG Phone, except with different branding.

The sources cited by DigiTimes say we should expect a quick ramp-up in production. The Asus/Qualcomm partnership is expecting to ship 500,000 units a year from Qualcomm's new brand, with another 500,000 ROG Phones also incoming, adding up to an ambitious one million units.

With Qualcomm on board, this venture will have easy access to the most powerful chipsets available to Android phones, and likely a good price for them too. This could help the new phones undercut existing rival gaming phones like the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel or the RedMagic 5G.

This could also mean a new potential competitor for Samsung, near enough the undisputed king of Android phones. The Galaxy S21, which we expect to debut in February 2021, will be using the Snapdragon 875, just like Qualcomm's new phone. While Samsung's phones are not outwardly gaming-focused, the company's recent partnership with Xbox's xCloud cloud gaming platform shows that it is interested in competing for gamers as a group.

Qualcomm is holding an event between December 1 - 2, where we expect it to reveal its new flagship chipset for the coming year. This would be an opportune moment to mention if it was bringing a phone out also, but that's just speculation for the time being.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.