Qualcomm's Next 5G Modem to Hit 7 Gbps Download Speeds

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Qualcomm's Next 5G Modem to Hit 7 Gbps Download Speeds

That was all for this year, and while there still isn't a single product readily for sale with the X50 modem, Qualcomm is already talking about its 5G solution for next year.

Today, Qualcomm has unveiled its latest 5G modem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55. Joining the X55 modem is the new QTM525 mmWave antenna module, succeeding last year's QTM052.

The second part is the Qualcomm QET6100 5G NR Envelope Tracker.

Qualcomm's pace of innovation remains impressive, but I do feel this sort of makes it look like they're tripping over themselves to be able to announce "FIRST" in response to everything related to 5G. That means the X50 and QTM052 will still be filling smartphones and sucking down batteries for the majority of 2019. With Mobile World Congress happening at the end of February, a bunch of OEMs are going to announce 5G hardware this week and next week, and those devices should run previously announced X50 hardware. Taiwan-based MediaTek Inc also has 5G chip, with Intel Corp targeting the second half of this year for a release.

That leads to weird arrangements like Motorola's 5G Moto Mod having its own Snapdragon 855 onboard to go with the X50, completely separate from the Moto Z3's own Snapdragon 835. The QTM525 module can fit in 5G phones that are thinner than 8mm (about 0.31 inches).

You have to remember, Verizon and AT&T are engaged in a massive and extremely expensive race to deploy 5G mmWave, and the first carrier with a viable 5G phone in 2019 gets all the 5G bragging rights. Some elements of 5G phones, such as the design of antennas and chips for handling analog radio waves, are more complicated than previous generations of phones. While again this might be fine in the first iterations and carrier deployments, lower frequency spectrum at and below 800MHz is only available in FDD duplex mode. Qualcomm doesn't give exact sizes for each module, but it says it has spent time "reducing the height of the module to support 5G smartphone designs sleeker than 8 millimeters thick". But now, let's see what improvements is Qualcomm bringing with the X55.

One of the most important bits about the X55 is that it supports FD-MIMO or Full-Dimension MIMO. The Snapdragon X50 was built on a 10nm manufacturing process, but the X55 is being upgraded to a 7nm process. They'll be taking center stage at MWC 2019 next week, and SlashGear will be there to bring you all the news you need to know about the 5G future. The modem supports "all major frequency bands", including both mmWave and sub-6GHz, as well as spectrum sharing between 4G and 5G, which allows carriers to use their existing 4G spectrum to support dynamic 4G and 5G services. SA ditches the use of LTE networks for backend communication, transitioning over entirely to 5G. The new modem comes with more global 5G compatibility and now covers the 26GHz, 28GHz, and 39GHz mmWave spectrum. The first is FDD support, in addition to the TDD that the X50 offers.

Now, 5G can really begin. It supports 7 Gbps peak download speeds and 3 Gbps upload speeds over 5G and has integrated Category 22 Gigabit LTE capabilities with 2.5 Gbps download speeds. Snapdragon X55 features cutting-edge LTE features, including 24 spatial streams, 4x4 MIMO, and 1024-QAM.

It's unclear how this 4G/5G modem will be used in a device.

What does that mean for you? Will Qualcomm start making SoCs without LTE on board, totally relying on this chip for cellular connectivity?

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