Qualcomm May Already Be Bringing 5G To Mid-Range Phones

AH Qualcomm Snapdragon logo MWC 2018 33

A recent leak details the specifications and features of an upcoming mid-range chipset offering from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 735 SoC. One of the key selling points of the mid-range processor is its support for 5G networks that run on both sub-6GHz and mmWave frequencies.

The source further indicates that unlike the Snapdragon 855, which supports 5G connectivity through the addition of a separate 5G-capable Snapdragon X50 modem, the mid-range chipset will include an integrated 5G modem. By adding a built-in 5G modem, the amount of space occupied by communications chips will be reduced substantially, which increases the available space for OEMs to include larger batteries into phones.

The launch of this chipset could also mean the availability of mid-range smartphones with 5G network support. While Motorola attempted to solve this issue by developing a smartphone with a mid-range chipset that uses a separate Moto Mod for 5G support, the availability of a dedicated mid-range chipset with the incorporated 5G modem should make it easier for handset makers to design mid-tier devices with compatibility with next-generation networks.


This rumor also indicates that the Snapdragon 735 SoC will be manufactured using the 7nm process node technology. This fabrication process should allow the handset to offer improved performance or lower power consumption compared to the Snapdragon 730 chipset, which is built using the 8-nanometer process technology.

The reduction of power consumption is especially crucial for Snapdragon 735 since 5G connectivity requires more processing power, and the improved power efficiency provided by smaller process nodes will allow handsets equipped with the upcoming chipset to offer competitive battery life.

The Snapdragon 735 is also rumored to offer an octa-core CPU setup. While it seems that Qualcomm has yet to brand the CPU that will come with the chipset, the rumor shows that the SoC will feature a Kryo 400-series CPU. The leak further claims that the Snapdragon 735 will sport a hexa-core CPU setup running at a maximum frequency of 1.8GHz, a mid-tier CPU core clocked at 2.4GHz, and a high-performance core running at 2.9GHz.


The Snapdragon 735 will also feature the Adreno 620 GPU clocked at 750MHz, it seems, a graphics processor that supports displays with resolutions of up to 3360 x 1440 pixels, a 21:9 aspect ratio, and a frame rate of 60fps. Moreover, the GPU also supports both HDR10 and HDR10+ content.  Meanwhile, the Spectra 350 image signal processor of the Snapdragon 735 supports cameras with a resolution of up to 32-megapixels, and the chipset supports encoding of 4K video clips at a frame rate of 60fps or 1080p videos with a frame rate of 240fps.

Another essential feature of the Snapdragon 735 is the inclusion of NPU 220, which the chipset could use to speed up the processing of machine learning and artificial intelligence tasks. Many smartphones already make use of machine learning for imaging purposes, and the emergence of on-device AI models will further take advantage of this processing unit.

The SoC also supports up to 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM. The support for large RAM capacities means that upper mid-range handsets may soon feature RAM capacities of 12GB or even more, a hardware feature previously observed in flagship smartphones. In terms of internal storage, the Snapdragon 735 supports both UFS 2.1 and eMMC 5.1 standards, claims the source.


The Snapdragon 735 is rumored to become available to manufacturers starting with the fourth quarter of this year, and it may take until the first half of 2020 before smartphones equipped with this chipset will ship to consumers. However, features included with the upcoming chipset signal the continuing lessening gap between the functionalities of premium handsets and their less expensive counterparts.