Qualcomm a world leader in smartphone modems has unveiled a second-generation 5G modem for smartphones that is capable of download speeds as high as 7Gbps, the only problem is that it will not be available on any new Apple iPhones.
The technology is part of a wave of next-generation 5G smartphones that will be unveiled at MWC 2019 in Barcelona next week and is tipped to be at the heart of everything from self-driving cars to virtual reality to industrial manufacturing with smartphones set to be the heart of the initial rollout.
On top of the 7Gbps speeds, there is instantaneous communication, and the ability to connect almost anything with the new Qualcomm model which will be built into most leading smartphones other than Apple after the two smartphones giants landed in court trying to sue each other over none payment of royalty payments by Apple.
Initially the 5G phones to be shown at MWC will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem, which was announced in 2016 and finally released last year.
That chip peaked at 5Gbps, which is faster by far than 4G networks. Telstra is set to spruik this processor when they launch their limited 5G network later this year.
The X55 5G will simplify future development for phone makers, Qualcomm said, thanks to support for both sub-6 GHz and millimetre wave bandwidths, two competing slices of network being promoted by different carriers that will both support 5G. And multi-mode support for 5G, 4G, and even networks as old as 2G means Qualcomm is “effectively making 5G available in any region around the world,” explained Qualcomm’s Nitin Dhiman during a product briefing ahead of the news release. The company says this will allow phone makers and other manufacturers to move their products into the market more quickly.
But more than just a faster modem, Qualcomm announced a complete suite of components; there’s the QTM525 5G mmWave antenna, which adds support for the 26GHz band and is more compact than earlier versions, allowing for slicker industrial designs. Those antenna make possible a reference design phone the company showed Digital Trends that looks just as sleek and beautiful as the phone you’re reading this article on. A few years earlier, the technical challenges posed by next-gen networks — millimetre wave in particular — made slick 5G phone designs seemed insurmountable.
“It’s very challenging. There’s no question about that,” Ignacio Contreras, director of Product Marketing with Qualcomm, told Digital Trends. “Up until a couple years ago, people thought it was impossible. But it has been solved.” Qualcomm also announced signal boosting chips, envelope tracking modules, and the filters and amplifiers manufacturers will need for next-gen phones. A slew of them are clearly on the way.
“Virtually all major Android manufacturers will be announcing or launching flagship 5G phones,” Contreras said. “Networks will be deployed across the globe — in the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and China will see networks lighting up and growing.”