Qualcomm is currently holding its annual Snapdragon Summit in Maui, and as in previous years the chipmaker has unveiled its latest flagship mobile chipset – the Snapdragon 855.

What makes this offering particularly noteworthy, other than the fact that it will likely feature in some of the most highly coveted flagship phones of 2019, is the fact that it supports 5G connectivity.

More specifically it will be capable of handling multi-gigabit download speeds as Qualcomm terms it.

Some of the other notable features include a 4th-gen multi-core AI engine which Qualcomm says is three times better in terms of performance compared to its predecessor. There’s also a computational vision image signal processor to handle enhanced photographic and video elements, although the company did not delve into what those would be.

The last thing worth mentioning is that the Snapdragon 855 features a more efficient 7 nanometer architecture, which now places Qualcomm on par with Huawei and Apple when it comes to mobile chip design.

As for which is faster will have to wait until next year, probably at MWC 2019 in February, when the first devices sporting the Snapdragon 855 start being unveiled.

One smartphone we know will feature it, at least for customers in the States at least, will be the Samsung Galaxy S10, with it expected to land in the region during the first half of next year.

“Justin Denison, senior vice president of mobile product strategy and marketing, Samsung Electronics America, discussed the company‚Äôs commitment to 5G, including bringing the first flagship 5G smartphone to the U.S. in the first half of 2019 using the Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform with the 5G X50 modem,” read a statement from Qualcomm.

What should be interesting to see is whether Samsung’s own Exynos division will have a 5G-capable chipset ready for the Galaxy S10 too, as it is often the go-to chipset for the company’s South African smartphones.

If not, we could see the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 arrive in another device, with Sony’s MWC flagship being the most likely candidate.

While the prospect of 5G phones is intriguing, the frustrating wait for spectrum availability locally still continues.