By integrating the modem in the SoC, the company could open the door for many more phone manufacturers to tap 5G technology, which is expected to be 10 to 100 times faster than current LTE networks. The company’s current flagship Snapdragon 855 integrates its latest LTE modem, but the X50 modem is a standalone part, which takes over more space internally.
Qualcomm Plans Snapdragon Processor with Integrated 5G
By Subhajit Ghosh
At Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm Technologies announced the Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform with 5G integrated into a System-on-Chip (SoC). The Company builds on its 5G leadership with the Snapdragon X50 and X55 5G modems and RF front-end (RFFE) solutions by offering a newly integrated Snapdragon 5G mobile platform, which reinforces the Company’s role in providing the global mobile ecosystem with the flexibility and scalability needed for broad and fast 5G adoption.
OEMs will be able to utilize the investments made on the Snapdragon X50 and X55 modems to enable accelerated commercialization on the new integrated 5G platform. The new integrated mobile platform is the first in a roadmap of software-compatible 5G mobile platforms and takes advantage of our newly announced second-generation 5G mm Wave antenna module and sub-6 GHz RFFE components and modules.
Using two chips instead of one also adds to power consumption and cost. Qualcomm solved part of the problem with its second-generation modem, the X55. The part is produced on the 7-nanometer node, while the X50 modem is based on 10-nanometer technology. The X55 modem combines 4G and 5G technology in the same chip, resulting in a smaller, faster, more energy efficient design that can handle a broader range of frequencies. But the X55 multimode modem is still a separate component.
Much like the first 4G phones, the first generation of 5G devices running the Snapdragon 855 with the separate X50 modem are expected to be quite costly, an issue Qualcomm aims to address with its next-generation System-On a Chip (SoC). Unlike the initial 4G rollout, however, Qualcomm claims excessive battery drain will not be a problem even with first-generation 5G phones.
The company had this to say about battery life in the 5G era, especially with its new modem-integrated SoC: – The new integrated Snapdragon 5G mobile platform features Qualcomm 5G PowerSave technology to enable smartphones with the battery life users expect today. Qualcomm 5G PowerSave builds on connected-mode discontinuous reception (C-DRX, a feature in 3GPP specifications) along with additional techniques from Qualcomm Technologies to enhance battery life in 5G mobile devices – making it comparable to that of Gigabit LTE devices today. Qualcomm 5G PowerSave is also supported in the Snapdragon X50 and X55 5G modems, which are expected to power the first waves of 5G mobile devices introduced this year. According to Qualcomm, manufacturers should be able to sample the new chipset in the second quarter of 2019, with the goal of making it commercially available in the first half of 2020.
Source: – Qualcomm
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