At its 4G/5G summit in Hong Kong, Qualcomm has announced its new Snapdragon 675 SoC for smartphones equipped with the third-generation AI Engine to enable advanced computing features. Alongside, the company has also announced new smaller 5G NR mmWave antenna modules for smartphones, completion of a successful 5G OTA call using Ericsson's 5G NR on the 3.5GHz band and a reference smartphone integrated with the Snapdragon X50 modem, its partnership with Samsung to develop 5G small cell solutions, a smart headset reference design for Amazon Alexa Voice Services (AVS), and new 60GHz 802.11ay Wi-Fi chipsets. Qualcomm also announced that it is working on making significant advancements in the automotive space, with its constantly improving cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) commercial solution for smart cars.
New, smaller QTM052 mmWave antenna modules
Qualcomm has now also expanded its QTM052 mmWave antenna modules family, to introduce new QTM9052 mmWave antenna modules that are almost 25 percent smaller than the ones announced in July. The small form factor allows OEMs to be more flexible with their 5G mmWave designs, and gives them more options for antenna placements as well. Apart from the small size, all of the other benefits remain the same, which means the new smaller QTM052 mmWave antenna modules work in tandem with the Snapdragon X50 5G, feature an integrated 5G NR radio transceiver, power management IC, RF front-end components and phased antenna array. Also, they support up to 800MHz of bandwidth in the 26.5GHz to 29.5GHz (n257), as well as the entire 27.5GHz to 28.35GHz (n261) and 37GHz to 40GHz (n260) mmWave bands. Qualcomm says that the new, smaller QTM052 mmWave antenna module family is now sampling to customers and is expected to launch in commercial 5G NR devices in early 2019.
Samsung, Qualcomm jointly commit to develop 5G small cells
Samsung and Qualcomm have partnered together to invest their efforts in developing 5G small cells using the Qualcomm FSM100xx 5G NR small cell chipset to support 5G NR in both mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrum. The chipset was launched earlier this year, and this small cell solution allows OEMs to deliver a uniform 5G experience, and supports critical outdoor deployments and challenging indoor scenarios. The FSM100xx solution scales to address outdoor small cell performance requirements such as support for MIMO implementation and multi-gigabit throughput, as well as support indoor requirements such as compact form factor and power over Ethernet (PoE) support. The FSM100xx based Samsung 5G Small Cell solution is expected to begin sampling in 2020.
Qualcomm, Ericsson make first 5G NR Sub-6GHz OTA call with a reference smartphone
Qualcomm announced that it has successfully completed a 3GPP Rel-15 spec compliant 5G NR over-the-air (OTA) call over sub-6GHz band using a reference smartphone. The OTA call was conducted in the Ericsson Lab in Stockholm on the 3.5GHz band. The sub-6GHz call utilized Ericsson's commercial 5G NR radio AIR 6488 and baseband products, while the reference smartphone device integrated the Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem. This successful call test will now enable other OEMs and operators to begin deployment of 5G NR networks, and conduct tests on this reference product.
Amazon Alexa headset
New 60GHz Wi-Fi chipsets based on 802.11ay specification
Furthermore, the company also announced new 60GHz Wi-Fi chipsets that deliver up to 10+ Gbps network speeds, wire-equivalent latency, power efficiency, Wi-Fi sensing, and are based on the latest 802.11ay specifications. These include QCA6438 and QCA6428 for infrastructure and fixed wireless access, and the QCA6421 and QCA6431 for mobile applications. These new chipsets bring powerful new wireless experiences like ultra-high-definition video streaming, immersive virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, lag-free mobile screen casting, fixed wireless mesh backhaul, proximity and presence detection, gesture recognitions, room mapping with precise location and improved facial feature detection, among other features. Qualcomm says that the new 60GHz Wi-Fi chipsets are available today.
Qualcomm smart headset reference design for Amazon Alexa Voice Services (AVS).
At the summit, Qualcomm also showed off a smart headset reference design for Amazon Alexa Voice Services (AVS). This headset comes with a push button activation for Alexa, and it will be available to manufacturers to help them evaluate Alexa on-the-go, and build their own Alexa-enabled headsets based on Qualcomm's Bluetooth audio QCC5124 SoC. This chip comes with features like ultra-low power consumption for extended playback time. The reference headset also come with two mic cVc noise reduction technology that is designed to improve voice callings, 60mA battery size, Micro USB charging, and the software implements Amazon Alexa Mobile Accessory (AMA) protocol for connection to a mobile phone. It alternatively has also launched a Smart Headset Development Kit that supports AMA kit. This enables support for Alexa on a headset via Bluetooth using the Alexa app on an Andorid or iOS device. All of this essentially means that device makers no longer need to integrate with AVS or to add any communication device beyond Bluetooth, reducing cost and accelerate time to market.
Qualcomm touches upon its automotive roadmap
Lastly, Qualcomm also touched upon its investment in automation, and detailed how 5G NR will enable an improved C-V2X solution for better road safety, enhanced driving experiences, digital car services, city services, and transportation efficiency. Qualcomm looks to integrate heterogeneous computing chips to address auto challenges and bring many modern features. The company says that a modern vehicle uses 80 to 100 ECUs, on an average. Qualcomm says that future cars will bring multi-configurable displays, multiple cameras, premium audio, AR-based navigation, and personalized experiences like driver profiles, body temperature measurement to automatically set the air-conditioning, and warning signals in case the driver is sleeping or is distracted. Qualcomm did not detail on a dedicated chip for smart cars, but Patrick Little, Senior Vice President and GM for Automotive at Qualcomm, vaguely hinted that it may launch in the future.
Disclosure: Qualcomm sponsored the correspondent's flights and hotel stay for the event in Hong Kong.