Qualcomm is now branding its complete 5G mobile chips.
The Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems name now being used is designed to highlight the more inclusive and complete nature of the company's products.
The first product to officially sport the new name is the "Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System." Announced in February, the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System is expected to start surfacing in customer devices in late 2019.
What's in a 5G mobile chip name?
From Qualcomm's perspective, quite a lot.
There are many components involved in the 5G chip chain. For example, the modem, RF transceiver and RF Front-end. Qualcomm makes all of these and even now packages them all together in the same single product.
However, that might not be as clear to OEMs, or anyone else for that matter. That's where Qualcomm's branding comes in.
Qualcomm wants those who are interested to understand that a Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF System is a complete product.
Not only for recognition purposes
Although it is evidently good for Qualcomm, when one of its products is holistically identified as a Qualcomm product, there's a functional benefit to knowing this as well.
While it might be the case that most 5G components play nicely together, most of the time, the Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems don't have to play nice together. They are designed and built to work together in a precise fashion.
This is an important distinction as it implies these Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems are a more seamless solution. An example might be there's less scope for issues to arise as the different components are in a sense, harmonized.
In explaining this, Qualcomm specifically points to the difference as a system-level difference. The Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems label is there to highlight the chip and its various components were conceived at the system level.
In other words, the complete package is about as reliable and high-performing as the sum of the parts will ever be.
Not much change beyond the label
While this is a change to the label on the front, it is unlikely to result in any other changes. Either by Qualcomm or down the supply chain.
As already discussed, Qualcomm has been approaching its integrated 5G chips in a holistically way for some time now. Nothing is likely to change on that front considering the change was already in effect.
Likewise, Qualcomm has confirmed there's no plans to push these integrated solutions onto its customers over non-integrated versions.
It is merely the introduction of a product name that Qualcomm will use to differentiate all-in chips from the alternative. So you can probably expect to hear it used by Qualcomm more often in the future.