Qualcomm has announced its second-generation Snapdragon X55 5G cellular modem and a suite of 5G solutions for network operators and device manufacturers, including its own 5G test networks. The company has made these announcements just ahead of the MWC 2019 trade show in Barcelona next week. The new Snapdragon X55 modem will serve as the follow-up to the Snapdragon X50, which will be seen in smartphones launching as soon as this week. According to Qualcomm, the second-gen Snapdragon X55 will allow network operators and smartphone manufacturers accelerate the pace of 5G rollouts across the world.
The Snapdragon X55 uses a 7nm manufacturing process and supports networks ranging from 2G to 5G in a single chip. It supports the 5G mmWave and sub-6GHz frequency bands and will work on standalone 5G networks as well as those that use 4G backends, which will be the most common as the new technology is being introduced. It promises downloads of up to 7Gbps and uploads of up to 3Gbps with compatible 5G networks and also supports Cat 22 LTE for up to 2.5Gbps downloads when used with matching 4G networks. Power efficiency is improved compared to the Snapdragon X50,
Qualcomm says that all major frequency bands used around the world are supported, including the TDD and FDD standards, which will help manufacturers develop devices for global markets quickly and easily. The company has also launched suitable antenna modules and RF transceivers that can be used in conjunction with the Snapdragon X55.
The company expects to see its new products in smartphones, laptops, tablets, portable hotspots, AR/VR and automotive products very soon. The Snapdragon X55 modem and complementary products will be sampled to manufacturers in the first half of this year, and the products they develop should be ready to ship by the end of 2019.
In a press statement, Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated, said “Qualcomm Technologies is spearheading the first wave of 5G launches with our first generation 5G mobile platform… We expect our 5G platform to accelerate 5G commercial momentum and power virtually all 5G launches in 2019 while significantly expanding the global 5G rollout footprint.”
5G devices and networks have been in development for several years, and many of the first 5G smartphones are expected to launch or at least be announced at MWC 2019 and in events leading up to it. 5G promises not only to increase cellular data speed but also drastically cut latency to enable highly responsive applications such as autonomous vehicle control, virtual reality experiences, and much more.
Samsung is expected to launch at least one 5G-enabled Galaxy S10 variant this week, OnePlus has confirmed that it will demonstrate a 5G prototype device at MWC, and other brands including Huawei, LG, ZTE, Lenovo, Xiaomi and Vivo are also likely to make announcements.
With Galaxy Fold, has Samsung kicked off a revolution in smartphone tech? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.