Qualcomm has announced a new super-fast gigabit LTE modem, as well as three new Snapdragon processors. The Snapdragon 625, 435 and 425 pack a punch with various technologies included to offer low- to mid-tier performance in smartphones later this year. Both the Snapdragon 625 and 435 are octa-core processor, while the entry 425 is a quad-core chip.

With the massive surge smartphone adoption in developing countries, Qualcomm is looking to capitalize on further growth with the release of these three processors, all rocking the ARM Cortex-A53 CPU. The company expects the new chips to be in handsets during the second half of 2016. While you're not likely to see these chips in high-end smartphones, we expect they will be an important development for manufacturers battling it out for consumers in emerging markets.

The other exciting piece of news from Qualcomm today, aside from a new processor platform dedicated to Android Wear, is the new gigabit X16 LTE Modem.

While the modem itself is way ahead of its time, supporting speeds of up to 1Gbps (most network providers aren't offering LTE speeds anywhere near that mark) it's the birth of next-gen wireless for smartphones. We'll have to see just how quickly carriers worldwide will be able to increase their speeds to match the capabilities of the X16.

Press Release:

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has introduced its sixth-generation discrete LTE multimode chipset -- the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X16 LTE modem, which is built on a leading-edge 14nm FinFET process -- and the Qualcomm RF Transceiver, WTR5975. The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem is the first commercially announced Gigabit Class LTE chipset designed to deliver fiber-like LTE Category 16 download speeds of up to 1 Gbps, supporting up to 4x20 MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation (CA) across FDD and TDD spectrum with 256-QAM, and 2x20 MHz uplink carrier aggregation plus 64-QAM for uplink speeds up to 150 Mbps.

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem is the first instantiation of Qualcomm Technologies' new, advanced modem architecture. This highly scalable architecture, with modular components and common software, will allow Qualcomm Technologies to rapidly evolve its modem product line to address a wide range of connected applications, ranging from ultra-fast mobile broadband to power-efficient connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem also supports Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), the global standard for LTE in unlicensed spectrum, becoming the mobile industry's first commercially announced LTE Advanced Pro modem. LTE Advanced Pro, beginning with 3GPP Release 13, marks an important next phase for 4G that will expand the technology into new applications and usage models, establishing the foundation for unified and more capable connectivity platforms into the next decade.

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem is designed to reach Gigabit Class LTE speeds using the same amount of spectrum as Category 9 LTE devices. By using carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO, the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem can receive 10 unique streams of data using only three 20 MHz carriers. Its support for 256-QAM boosts the peak throughput of each stream from ~75 Mbps to ~100 Mbps, with additional gains possible with modem data compression. Additionally, with support for LAA as well as LTE-U, this combination reduces the amount of licensed spectrum required – to 40 MHz or less – to vastly expand the number of operators that can deploy Gigabit Class LTE speeds around the globe.

In addition to the advanced connectivity feature sets, the new modem and transceiver support Snapdragon All Mode, including all major cellular technologies (LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, and GSM/EDGE), frequency bands, Carrier Aggregation band combinations, LTE dual SIM, LTE Broadcast, HD and Ultra HD Voice over LTE (VoLTE) with single radio voice call continuity to 3G and 2G.

"In addition to serving as a significant milestone for the mobile industry, the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem is a powerful testament to Qualcomm Technologies' continued technology leadership in all things wireless," said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and president, QCT. "Not only does the Snapdragon X16 blur the lines between wired and wireless broadband, but marks an important step toward 5G as we enable deeper unlicensed spectrum integration with LTE and more advanced MIMO techniques to support growing data consumption and deliver an even faster and smoother user experience."

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem pairs with the new WTR5975 RF transceiver, the world's first single-chip RF IC supporting Gigabit Class LTE, LTE-U and LAA with 5 GHz unlicensed band support. The highly integrated WTR5975 supports up to 4x downlink CA, 2x uplink CA, all 3GPP-approved bands, including 3.5GHz bands 42 and 43, and 4x4 MIMO in a single transceiver chip, dramatically reducing the footprint required to support advanced CA and MIMO configurations. The WTR5975 also features a new digital interconnect interface designed to facilitate PCB layout in advanced LTE devices by simplifying routing between the modem and transceiver. The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem pairs with Qualcomm Technologies' Qualcomm® RF360™ QET4100 Envelope Tracker to provide a major advancement in LTE power efficiency with the world's first announced 40MHz envelope tracking solution for LTE FDD and LTE TDD.

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, WTR5975 and QET4100 are designed and optimized together as a system to support fast downloads, swift application performance, as well as provide enhanced thermal efficiency and optimized power consumption. The new chipset is designed to enable a broad range of connected platforms from smartphones, tablets, and mobile computing devices to cars, drones and virtual reality headsets. With Gigabit Class LTE speeds, users will be able to take advantage of breakthrough features, such as live streaming of 360 degree virtual reality content and faster, more seamless access to cloud-based applications and services.

Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, WTR5975 and QET4100 samples are available now, with first commercial products expected in second half of 2016.