What you need to know
- Qualcomm plans to integrate its 5G modem in mid-range Snapdragon 600 and 700 series phones in 2020.
- The designs will be featured in phones from the likes of OPPO, Realme, Vivo, Redmi, HMD, Motorola, and LG.
- The integrated 5G modem will work in all key regions and all frequency bands.
Qualcomm rolled out its first 5G modem this year, and the chip vendor is now aiming to bring 5G connectivity to the mid-range category. Qualcomm has announced that its Snapdragon 600 and 700 series chipsets in 2020 will feature an integrated 5G modem, significantly lowering the barrier for 5G adoption.
The upcoming Snapdragon chipsets will be built on the 7nm node, and Qualcomm says the designs will support all key regions and frequency bands, including mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum, TDD and FDD modes, as well as 5G multi-SIM.
Integrating the 5G modem into the SoC will result in significant energy gains, as the current imlementation sees Qualcomm's X50 modem in conjunction with a Snapdragon 855 chipset. Qualcomm says it will introduce a 5G platform based on the high-end Snapdragon 800 platform later this year — which will be the successor to the Snapdragon 855 — with the mid-range Snapdragon 700 5G series debuting in 2020.
Qualcomm says that the 5G-enabled Snapdragon 700 series chipsets will feature in devices from twelve OEMs next year, including OPPO, Realme, Vivo, Redmi, Motorola, LG, and Nokia. The chipsets are already being sampled, and we should see the first wave of devices rolling out early next year. Qualcomm will also roll out 5G-based Snapdragon 600 designs in the latter half of 2020.
The timeline coincides with what we've been hearing from the likes of Realme and Redmi. Both Chinese manufacturers have committed to launching their first 5G-enabled phones early next year, and it is entirely likely the devices will be powered by Snapdragon 700 series chipsets.
Qualcomm's announcement comes on the heels of Huawei detailing the Kirin 990 5G chipset. Huawei has also integrated the 5G modem within the chipset, and is touting the same power draw as a 4G-enabled modem. It will be very interesting to see what Qualcomm comes up with later in the year, particularly in the mid-range space.
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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.