What you need to know
- The Snapdragon X65 is the first 5G modem to achieve 10 Gigabit speeds.
- The modem has new mmWave antenna module that delivers better coverage, and uses AI to boost connectivity.
- The Snapdragon X65 will make its way to Android flagships launching in the latter half of 2021, and 2022 iPhones.
- Qualcomm also announced a more affordable version of the Snapdragon X65, dubbed X62.
This year's best Android phones are powered by the Snapdragon 888, which uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 modem. Qualcomm is now offering a first look at what's next for 5G connectivity with its latest flagship modem, the Snapdragon X65.
The marquee feature on the Snapdragon X65 is that it achieves 10 Gigabit 5G speeds, with the X60 going up to only 7.6Gbps. Qualcomm is touting several improvements here: the X65 features a fourth-gen Qualcomm 545 mmWave antenna module with increased coverage and better energy efficiency, global 5G coverage including the new n259 (41 GHz) band, and spectrum aggregation across mmWave and Sub-6 bands.
Like its previous 5G modems, the X65 is a fully integrated modem-to-antenna solution; Qualcomm has introduced RF front-end modules with full 100MHz bandwidth for 5G bands, more energy-efficient designs, and an adaptive antenna tuning feature that uses AI. Basically, Qualcomm sells the entire kit that device makers need to enable 5G on their products.
Another interesting addition is the upgradeable architecture, with Qualcomm noting that it can just deliver OTA updates to the modem for the upcoming 3GPP Release 16 specification. We know that 2022 iPhones will be powered by the Snapdragon X65 modem, because Apple's roadmap stated as much last year. The 5G modem should also make its way to Android flagships launching later this year and in early 2022.
Qualcomm says telecom vendors will be able to leverage the X65 modem to deliver fixed broadband internet access with the Fixed Wireless Access platform. The chip manufacturer has already secured a design win from Italian telecom giant FastWeb, and noted that 30 operators around the world will roll out broadband service using the tech.
Qualcomm is introducing the second-gen version of the Fixed Wireless Access platform alongside the X65, touting mmWave and Sub-6 bandwidth aggregation, extended-range antennae for better coverage, and increased bandwidth. Alongside the X65, Qualcomm is introducing a more affordable version dubbed the X62 that will also make its way to devices at the same time.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.