Qualcomm on Tuesday vowed to help make Android Q fully ready for supporting the fifth generation of mobile networks, i.e. powering smartphones, tablets, and potentially a wide variety of other devices designed to take advantage of the next major wireless connectivity standard that’s now already flirting with consumer-grade use cases, at least on an experimental basis.
The announcement made in the opening minutes of Google I/O 2019, the latest edition of the annual developer conference in California, with Qualcomm clarifying it’s primarily planning to support Google’s ambitions in the wireless segment by contributing to the official application programming interfaces (APIs) it developed for Android Q.
Without getting too technical, APIs are basically tools independent developers largely rely on to utilize experimental technologies they might not be too familiar with to implement into their solutions otherwise or simply speed up development by a significant margin. By contributing to the source code of Google’s Android project (yet again), Qualcomm is trying to remove at least a portion of the guessing aspect of the 5G equation – as far as original equipment manufacturers are concerned, that is.
Qualcomm isn’t lending a coding hand to Google out of the goodness of its corporate heart; the San Diego, California-based chipmaker sees the current silicon scarce as an opportunity to ensure massive domestic success for its latest and greatest Snapdragon 855 platform. Originally announced in two variants, the top Snapdragon 855 model will utilize the Snapdragon X50 modem, a new module designed to deliver a relatively consistent stream of information to a compatible source, beating existing speeds by up to a double-digit factor.
Qualcomm already expressed a firm belief in the Snapdragon 855, repeatedly predicting pretty much every first-generation 5G smartphone from the Android segment will be using some variant of its newest system-on-chip. While most industry watchers and analysts primarily see the new wireless standard as a revolutionary opportunity, or at the very least an occasion that history will remember due to its (hopefully positive) impact on the global economy, Qualcomm’s current plan is to get the basics right and leverage 5G to deliver visible improvements to existing technologies such as augmented reality and streaming before moving on to more bleeding-edge solutions.
Qualcomm and Google promised more details on their collaboration will be announced over the course of the newly started conference. Some basic documentation is already available on the Android Developer portal. The two juggernauts are bound to further deepen their bond as the 5G era progresses, with both Snapdragon and Android currently appearing as close to invincible in their respective segments as two technologies can be. A lack of competition certainly isn’t great news for consumers, though the diversified nature of Google’s mobile operating system and the comparable versatility of Qualcomm’s chips means that whatever happens next, it’s likely to be far from the worst-case scenario for the future of the mobile world.
All national carriers in the United States are already aggressively pursuing 5G, with the latest analyses suggesting T-Mobile will end up winning the domestic wireless race, largely thanks to its 600MHz holdings, even if its proposed merger with Sprint doesn’t go through.