Qualcomm chips to extend 5G to more affordable smartphones


The chipmaker said that it will integrate the 5G connectivity to its 6- and 7-series chipsets starting next year, in addition to its flagship 8-series processors, The Verge reports. This is largely a new branding strategy, meant to better communicate the holistic, approach to connectivity that the company has invested in, and that is now powering over 150 5G-ready designs that have either been launched or are now in development (this figure includes not just smartphones, but also hotspots and other devices implementing 5G technology).

"We launched 5G, we want everyone to have it".

However, if 5G is supposed to become the technology that will change everything, then it also needs to be affordable, so that most people can make use of it.

The firm didn't say what the chipset will be called or what modem it will use, it said that details will be unveiled later this year, likely at Snapdragon Technology Summit in December. The 5G-modem will provide download speeds of up to 2.5Gbps, and more than 300Mbps upload speeds according to Qualcomm's official website. Therefore, if smartphone makers wanted to sell 5G phones, they had to buy two different modems, a 5G one and one that also supported previous technologies (3G, 4G, etc). The 700 series chips are popular in China, so that's a signal about lots of Chinese 5G phones coming. OPPO said that it is now working with Qualcomm to accelerate the commercial deployment of the Snapdragon 700 Series 5G integrated mobile platform in the fourth quarter of this year.

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The company said that 12 manufacturers including Oppo, LG, and HMD Global plan to use the new 7-series chipsets in their upcoming phones in the fourth quarter this year. The latest 8-series chip, on the other hand, always ends up being the default for flagships in a given generation. It gets complicated, knowing which bits are required for mmWave vs. "sub-6" 5G, or different standards and frequencies. Up until now, 5G-savvy customers have had to keep track of modem names, RF transceivers, and antenna solutions to stay in the know.

Qualcomm has been at the forefront of 5G development with its Snapdragon X50 modem, which began shipping in smartphone this year.

The company says that it plans on expanding its offerings for the Snapdragon 8 Series, 7 Series and 6 Series in 2020. The commercialization of this chip will start in the second half of next year.