Your next smartphone could get 1Gbps download speeds: Qualcomm

Image: Ji haixin – Imaginechina

Though telecom operators are yet to even start setting up their 5G networks, chipmaker Qualcomm today outlined how it plans to make upcoming smartphones and other gears future proof. Sadly, it won’t be until 2018 that we will be able to make any use of this. The company today also announced refreshed processors for entry-level and mid-range smartphones. 

At its 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong today, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon X50, the world’s first 5G modem which is capable of supporting download speeds up to 5Gbps. The chipmaker said it will begin shipping samples of this modem to smartphone and other gadget manufacturers next year. It is currently hoping to see devices in the real world powered by this modem in the first half of 2018.

The company explained what makes the Snapdragon X50 special: “The Snapdragon X50 5G modem will initially support operation in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28GHz band.  It will employ Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques, which facilitates robust and sustained mobile broadband communications in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments. With 800MHz bandwidth support, the Snapdragon X50 5G modem is designed to support peak download speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second.”

Can’t wait that long? The company also plans to make your devices capable of at least 1Gbps starting this year, provided your service provider is capable of delivering those speeds. Today it unveiled the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, the first consumer end device capable of reaching Gigabit Class LTE download speeds up to 1Gbps. Qualcomm says it has closely worked with network equipment companies Telstra, Ericsson and NETGEAR on what is the world’s first Gigabit Class LTE mobile device. 

More importantly, you will be able to see devices utilizing this modem as soon as by the end of this year.  A mobile hotspot featuring the modem will launch in Australia later this year. Qualcomm reportedly said its upcoming Snapdragon processor — likely the Snapdragon 830 — will support X16 LTE modem, and launch sometime next year.

Qualcomm also announced new processors for entry-level and mid-level devices to make them more useful and capable. The chipmaker unveiled the Snapdragon 427, Snapdragon 626, and Snapdragon 653. The Snapdragon 653 is a “pro” version of the currently available Snapdragon 652 processor. The company says it has raised the frequency of half of the cores of Snapdragon to offer faster performance.

Similarly, the Snapdragon 626 is an improved version of the Snapdragon 625 mobile processor. The new processor also offers support for Bluetooth 4.2 and better network capabilities. The Snapdragon 427 is the company’s new processor for the entry to middle-range smartphones. It offers similar features as the existing Snapdragon 400 series of processors, but offers improved network capability. 

All these processors also support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology that offers fast battery charging and will start showing up in devices in early 2017. 

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