Qualcomm, today, is announcing its third-generation 5G modem – the Snapdragon X60.
This is the first 5G modem built on a 5nm process, and it is also the first to aggregate mmWave and Sub-6 bands. Making it the first 5G modem to support all key 5G bands and combinations.
Better and more battery efficient 5G modems
With each generation of 5G modems that come out, we are seeing the battery efficiency get better and better. Just as we did with 4G LTE nearly a decade ago.
Qualcomm says that you'll be able to watch immersive 360-degree video, highly responsive multiplayer gaming and much more, all on "superior power efficiency for all-day battery life."
With the Snapdragon X60 supporting both millimeter wave and Sub-6, you're going to be able to use this modem across all of the carriers. And once carriers start rolling out both technologies, you will really see the difference. Verizon already has millimeter wave available and plans to use Sub-6 later this year.
This 5G modem to antenna solution can deliver up to 7.5Gbps download and 3Gbps upload speeds. That's faster than most fiber connections. But remember that these speeds are not real-world speeds. Just theoretical speeds that the modem can handle. So don't expect to see 7.5Gbps on your smartphone anytime soon.
The Snapdragon X60 is also the world's first 5G FDD-TDD sub-6 carrier aggregation solution, in addition to supporting 5G FDD-FDD and TDD-TDD carrier aggregation, along with dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), allowing operators a wide range of deployment options. This also includes the ability to repurpose LTE spectrum for 5G.
This is still the beginning for Qualcomm and 5G, expect the next few modems that support 5G to be vastly improved. That is as the technology starts to mature, and in a couple of years, you will likely see a 5G smartphone that is able to last all day, when connected to 5G.
Snapdragon X60 will start sampling this quarter
According to Qualcomm, it will start sampling the Snapdragon X60 this quarter. And it expects partners to start releasing smartphones using the Snapdragon X60 in early 2021.
This likely means that the Snapdragon X60 will be part of the next flagship silicon from Qualcomm – whether that's the Snapdragon 870, 875 or something different. And that also means that it will be in the Samsung Galaxy S21, and other flagships coming out next year. Like usual, Qualcomm's announcements are for hardware that we'll see more than a year from now.