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Snapdragon 820 to come with new X12 LTE modem - CAT 12 downloads, CAT 13 uploads, and 4X4 MIMO

Qualcomm has announced a few details about the coming Snapdragon 820, specifically about the modem and connectivity feature-set.

The 820, expected to hit devices in 2016, will feature the all-new X12 LTE modem, which brings CAT 12 down and CAT 13 up speeds (600 and 150 Mbps, respectively) and up to 4 x 4 MIMO downlinks while on an LTE carrier. In plain English, this means fast.

The upgraded X12 modem features, in full:

LTE Advanced speeds

  • Cat 12 (up to 600 Mbps) in the downlink
  • Cat 13 (up to 150 Mbps) in the uplink
  • Up to 4x4 MIMO on one downlink LTE carrier

Breakthrough connectivity support in unlicensed spectrum:

  • 2x2 MU-MIMO (802.11ac)
  • Multi-gigabit 802.11ad
  • LTE-U and LTE+Wi-Fi Link Aggregation (LWA)

Comprehensive service across connection types

  • Next Gen HD Voice and Video calling over LTE and Wi-Fi
  • Call Continuity across Wi-Fi, LTE, 3G, and 2G

RF front end innovations

  • Advanced Closed Loop Antenna Tuner
  • Qualcomm RF360™ front end solution with CA
  • Wi-Fi/LTE antenna sharing

These advances should help us all use up our data allotments even faster, but we're always happy to see technology advancing. Even when it's inside a modem. The full press release follows.

Qualcomm Announces Breakthrough Connectivity Features in the Snapdragon 820 Processor

-Upgraded X12 LTE modem includes the most advanced LTE and Wi-Fi feature set of any publicly announced integrated modem and application processor for use in mobile devices-

HONG KONG, Sept. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), has integrated its newly upgraded X12 LTE modem into its upcoming Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 processor, providing leading 4G LTE and Wi-Fi technologies for premium tier mobile devices. The new Snapdragon 820 processor addresses unprecedented demand for blazing fast connectivity and seamless services. The Snapdragon 820 processor's upgraded X12 LTE modem offers:

LTE Advanced speeds

  • Cat 12 (up to 600 Mbps) in the downlink
  • Cat 13 (up to 150 Mbps) in the uplink
  • Up to 4x4 MIMO on one downlink LTE carrier

Breakthrough connectivity support in unlicensed spectrum:

  • 2x2 MU-MIMO (802.11ac)
  • Multi-gigabit 802.11ad
  • LTE-U and LTE+Wi-Fi Link Aggregation (LWA)

Comprehensive service across connection types

  • Next Gen HD Voice and Video calling over LTE and Wi-Fi
  • Call Continuity across Wi-Fi, LTE, 3G, and 2G

RF front end innovations

  • Advanced Closed Loop Antenna Tuner
  • Qualcomm RF360™ front end solution with CA
  • Wi-Fi/LTE antenna sharing

This is the first publicly announced processor for use in mobile devices to support LTE Category 12 in the downlink and Category 13 in the uplink, providing up to 33 percent and 200 percent improvement over its predecessor's download and upload speeds, respectively. Also available as a discrete chipset, the X12 LTE modem has demonstrated peak download speeds of up to 600 Mbps through 3x downlink carrier aggregation and 256-QAM, as well as peak upload speeds of up to 150 Mbps through 2x uplink carrier aggregation and 64-QAM. The Snapdragon 820 processor is also the first publicly announced processor to offer LTE support for 4x4 Multi-Input Multi-Output (MIMO), designed to double download throughput speeds on a single LTE carrier. In addition, it features Uplink Data Compression (UDC), a feature that is currently unique to select Snapdragon LTE modems, and engineered to enhance the user experience in a wide range of applications, including accelerating web page loading times. The Snapdragon 820 processor is also the first publicly announced processor with Advanced Closed Loop Antenna Tuning when paired with the QFE2550 Antenna Tuner, designed to dynamically optimize RF performance in real network conditions, particularly for challenging metallic industrial designs in premium tier handsets. Advanced Closed Loop Antenna Tuning is designed to reduce dropped calls, improve cell edge throughput and even lower power consumption.

In addition to its leading LTE features, the Snapdragon 820 processor also supports superior Wi-Fi performance and connectivity experiences through Qualcomm® VIVE™ 802.11ac with Qualcomm® MU | EFX MU-MIMO technology, along with tri-band support, through multi-gigabit 802.11ad (11ad) Wi-Fi. With 2x2 802.11ac (11ac) plus MU-MIMO technology, devices will have the ability to achieve a range increase of up to 50 percent over the 1x1 configuration. The peak rate of 2x2 80 MHz 11ac is up to 867 Mbps, while the 11ad peak rate is up to 4.6 Gbps. Additionally, 11ad offers up to a five time increase in user throughput with similar power consumption as 11ac. With dynamic session transfer between 11ad and 11ac, devices will have the ability to achieve high performance connectivity in a power-efficient way. The high bandwidth and speeds offered by 11ac Wi-Fi, 11ad Wi-Fi, and MU-MIMO brings new-levels of performance designed to improve overall quality of service, and enhance user experiences for applications such as streaming 4K video, doing peer-to-peer large file sharing, using media kiosks, docking wirelessly, hard disk backups and more.

The Snapdragon 820 processor features advanced convergence technologies between LTE and Wi-Fi, and between licensed and unlicensed spectrum:

LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U). The Snapdragon 820 processor is the first publicly announced processor for use in mobile devices to offer comprehensive LTE-U support when paired with the WTR3950, increasing mobile network capacity and user throughput by aggregating LTE in licensed and unlicensed bands. LTE and Wi-Fi Link Aggregation (LWA). LWA is another method of aggregating licensed and unlicensed spectrum. It is designed to allow mobile operators to utilize their Wi-Fi infrastructure to augment licensed LTE network capacity with unlicensed spectrum capacity. Next-generation Wi-Fi calling. The X12 LTE modem supports next-generation HD Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Video over LTE (ViLTE) calling services using the IP Multimedia Subsystem, with support for call continuity between LTE and Wi-Fi. Making use of the cognitive capabilities of Qualcomm® Zeroth™, the X12 LTE modem monitors real-time Wi-Fi quality to decide if and when to shift the call from LTE to Wi-Fi or back. Antenna sharing. The new modem supports several antenna sharing schemes between LTE and Wi-Fi, designed to make it easier for manufacturers to design devices with advanced technologies like LTE-U, 4x4 LTE MIMO, and 2-stream Wi-Fi, with attractive form factors and minimal performance impact on either technology. "The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with X12 LTE modem is a new industry leader, offering highly differentiated features that put OEMs and carriers on the cutting edge, including the latest advances in LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity," said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "With technologies like 4K video, virtual reality and cognitive computing rapidly evolving, it's important to provide consumers with the speed and bandwidth to create a more compelling mobile experience."

The Snapdragon 820 processor continues QTI's long-standing tradition of integrating industry-leading modem features. It also includes support for services such as LTE-Broadcast and dual-SIM LTE carrier aggregation devices. Devices based on the Snapdragon 820 processor are expected to be available in 1H of 2016.

About Qualcomm Incorporated

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm's licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm's engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 30 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm's website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Qualcommm, Snapdragon, Qualcomm RF360 and VIVE are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries. Zeroth is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated. Qualcomm Snapdragon, Qualcomm Zeroth and Qualcomm RF360 are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Qualcomm VIVE and Qualcomm MU | EFX are products of Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

75 Comments
  • Is this what's supposed to be in the Nexus 6 2015? It sounds good. I'm just curious about what Nexus will do.
  • Nope. This is coming out later than the next Nexuses are. Posted via One M9
  • Not unless they are coming out in the first half of next year.
  • You wish. The snaptoaster is coming with the Huewei nexus
  • I'm as big a Nexus fan there is, and even I wouldn't touch it ... just a nightmare year all around.
  • Yup. The LG nexus will be alright though
  • +1. That's why I grabbed a Motorola Nexus 6 when that Amazon deal hit 10 days ago! N6/9
    Posted via the Android Central App
  • exactly ... loving the larger display and front speakers. and for $350, I mean cmon
  • I'm also really loving the larger, or maybe I should say LARGER, screen and front facing speakers. I got the 64gb, which was an equal bargain at $399. (What can I say, I have a 6mo old and those grandparents and aunts and uncles keep clamoring for video!) I was coming from 2013 Moto X that was running way hot and slow recently... The n6 is by far the fastest, smoothest, most amazing android device I've ever used! I loved my galaxy nexus, but this really blows it away. I think it even blows my n9 away, but I'll reserve judgment on that until further use. I was curious re the SD808 in the MXPE and forthcoming n5, but the n6 was STILL $100 cheaper with the Amazon deal (comparing the 64gb prices). So if we all agree 808>810, what are thoughts on the 808 vs the 805? Are we talking just a little incremental difference here? A worth $100 difference here? This is what was going through my head before I pulled the n6 trigger with Amazon deal. Thoughts? Crazy rants? People wanting to tell me off? C'mon, bring it internets! N6/9
    Posted via the Android Central App
  • The 800-805 Krait chipsets are more than powerful enough to be used in flagships even today. The nexus 6 is overall the fastest smartphone I've ever used when including how many dozens of apps its able to hold in memory most of the time. And it's also forced into software encryption which takes a toll on performance too. It's still a monster performer
  • As a nexus 6 owner you're spot on Posted From my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface pro 3
  • As a Nexus 5 user you're spot on. Nexus 5 | T-Mobile $30 Plan
    LG G2 | Verizon Wireless No Plan
  • Since the 5.1.1 update I still consider the nexus 5 to be the fastest smartphone available out of the box. I'm the kind of nerd that likes to do side by side speed comparisons just to play around and the nexus 5 is a beast. Just shows that benchmarks mean nothing and Qualcomm's Krait series is top notch hardware
  • How fast the nexus 5 is still awesome but not awesome. Awesome because it's fast. Not awesome because a two year old phone is faster than all the flagships. Let this year be a lesson to all oems Posted From my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface pro 3
  • I'd touch it. I'd make sure i had oven mitts handy, but I'd touch it.
  • This is, of course, good news, but what percentage of residential users will be able to utilize 600 mbps down?
  • None of the Carriers. Carriers had the definition of 4G changed to appease their marketing BS. 4G's definition was 100 Mbps and no carrier has come to 1/3 of those speeds. I would not be surprised if they change the Definition of the technicalities of 5G because they'll never be able to deliver on it, which is 1 Gbps. The carriers have only put in the bare minimum of LTE towers to label an area covered, which is why speeds are slow and congested.
  • Sprint does here lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • But. Will you be able to cook an egg on you phone? Posted via Android Central App from a beautiful Ebony backed Original Moto X or the amazing Nexus 10
  • 20th time I've heard the same joke, for the win Bob!
  • Ok but will this o e do the bacon as well? S-Pen goes *** click ***
  • lol ... what a shit show this 810 is. I never thought coming into 2015 we'd be wasting our time discussing batteries and processors.
  • You and me both. Batteries are always going to be an issue but I thought we were on a downslope with worrying about cpu +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • We should be a downward slope. Hardware is nothing anymore it's all software, and that's the Achilles heel of all oems. Posted From my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface pro 3
  • Will someone turn up the air conditioning? I'm about to make a call!
  • They need this on the market asap cause the S810 isn't good at all. Even the newest versions Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm not buying into these new versions being improved. I've heard stories, but haven't seen sufficient evidence. The only thing "new" is the price that Qualcomm is selling them for IMO .... they must be practically giving them away, and these OEMs are passing their dogshit onto us.
  • +1 S-Pen goes *** click ***
  • Well with one plus they HAVE to be shuffling them off for nothing. I bet the 808s are more expensive. Posted From my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface pro 3
  • thanks for nothing Qualcomm ... those 810 benchmarks on the Hauwei Nexus were horrific. I'm not huge on chips at this point, but even I can't justify dealing with such severe performance issues. miserable year to say the least, and these OEMs should've absorbed the hit and used Exynos processors instead of going the cheap route at our expense.
  • I think they should have used the Kirin processor instead unless Samsung happily allows them to use the 7422 (albeit with a fee). The 810 is a failure and I'm disgusted at how some people think the 810 is better than the 808 when it CLEARLY isn't. The other day, I was discussing the 810 with some guys, and one random dude was like "The OnePlus Two has the 810 and according to them, it runs cooler, so the hate on the 810 is invalid". Funny enough, the OPT ALSO throttles to a point where it's slower than the OPO. Here lies the "2016 Flagship Killer". It got slayed by 2015 flagships like the LG G4 being used to post this.
  • hit the nail on the head my friend .... "disgusted" pretty much sums it up perfectly!! fortunately I'm a patient man and I'll simply wait until 2016 or for something to my liking to come about.
  • Moto X 2016... Ugh, can I wait another year for the 820, and stick with this S3? Posted via the Android Central App
  • there's no telling what Lenovo will bring to the X, or how the 820 will perform, so I'd consider getting the Nexus 6, you won't regret it. I took advantage of the $350 deal so it'll hold me over, and can still jump on the LG Nexus if it impresses me. Maybe HTC will impress us early 2016 so it won't be that long a wait. I wouldn't be able to wait until late next year with what I had though, I'm patient but that's testing my limits. Took about 48 hours to get used to the size, the front speakers are a must have now, the camera is surprisingly good, and the battery life has been solid thus far (though that can obviously vary significantly considering one's personal use). I've gotten over 5 hours SOT this week and I've been pushing it hard. I've had it set almost to max brightness and I've mostly been on WiFi. As you know I had the Nexus 4 and still have the S4, so really anything is a monster upgrade. The specs on any of these phones, whether a Nexus, Moto Pure, whatever, might not be perfect, but if you're upgrading from an S3? I mean you're talking about a night and day difference.
  • A $350 Nexus 6 is a steal IMHO. It's a beast of a phone. Personally, a better deal than the OnePlus Two. :P
  • It's more than a steal. It's a dream come true for someone who wants a phablet with what are still top of the line specs, the bleeding edge of software updates, and the most optimized version of Android out of the box that's available todsy
  • I initially didn't like the Nexus 6 due to the rather high initial price (compared to the Nexus 5) and had some concerns over the size. Used one the other day and I really loved the damn thing. It's seriously fast (sometimes faster than a Note 5) and it has aged tremendously well. For $350, there's really no reason to not consider getting one if you want a super fast high end phone that doesn't break the bank. Plus, since it's a Nexus, it'll be one of the very first to get Android OS updates. Here lies the "2016 Flagship Killer". It got slayed by 2015 flagships like the LG G4 being used to post this.
  • Indeed...
  • Not only can you, but I think you need to. Unless you get a nexus 6 on clearance from Amazon you'll regret selling for a 2015 nexus with this crappy rushed processor that deserves to be thrust first into the flames of hell and then into the ash heap of history. The 820 will restore Qualcomm to its former glory and by the time your nexus 6 stops getting updates, nougat guaranteed and most likely it will get oreo as well, the nexus you can replace it with will come with the even better 830, which might be based on 10 nm architecture and come packing quick charge 5.0. Now that will be worth upgrading from a nexus 6 whose battery will be shot to he'll by then.
  • Okay, I'm a Note 5 owner and an OP2 owner (as of this morning)... I just can't see the hate the SD810 gets based on my preliminary use of it. I have no doubts that my Note 5 destroys it in the efficiency department, but I'm pleased with the performance of the 810 so far (especially on a phone that costs less than $400). Posted via the Android Central App
  • The 810 seems to be alright in pretty light use. It shows its issues in heavier usage. Here lies the "2016 Flagship Killer". It got slayed by 2015 flagships like the LG G4 being used to post this.
  • Simpy watch a video over LTE until your fingers burn or you smell smoke.
    Probably less than 30 minutes. If you make it 30 minutes, check your battery, It will be down by 15-20 percent over that 30 minutes. This combination of video card use while LTE is actively pulling data is the easiest combination to demonstrate the issue. Somewhat exaggerated, but ...
  • Yup. Only phone I have here that actually overheats is a GS6 when I use the camera outside. But kids like to say what other cool kids are saying.
  • Maybe it's just mine, but I have a Z3+ overheat on me and shutting down the camera twice. In a cold room Here lies the "2016 Flagship Killer". It got slayed by 2015 flagships like the LG G4 being used to post this.
  • Hi all android is dead
    Y because Google owns android
    And part of using on a phone
    You give Google the right to push add
    To your phone
    So when you get a update Google is
    Trying to find ways to push more adds
    To your phone Posted via the Android Central App
  • Go home, you're drunk.
  • Lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • so let me get this straight. Google owns Android, and Google makes money from advertisements. how enlightening.
  • So they lied about being open source? What are they 2-? S-Pen goes *** click ***
  • No no no. Google makes money by selling all of your information to the Illuminati. You got to study it out.
  • No study needed. Just look at the Chem trails +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • Ads. Ads. When you add those together you get 2 ads. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Are you okay? Posted via the Android Central App
  • SnapToaster 820? Posted via the Android Central App
  • 820 kiln Posted via the Android Central App
  • More like the SnapMonster 820. This chip is gonna be crazy powerful. Back to a Quadcore setup and featuring Qualcomm's custom architecture. No more octo-core big.LITTLE configuration
  • Qualcomm took a lot of heat for the 810. I highly doubt the 820 will be a toaster also. I have a feeling the 820 will be the chip set that gains people's trust back. Note 5/AC App...
  • "Qualcomm took a lot of heat for the 810" is that a pun? If so, very clever! I chuckled. - I'm the guy at the bar turning the TV with his phone during your favorite sports game. -
  • Pun was definitely intended lol. I couldn't help myself... Note 5/AC App...
  • If they change the architecture ok I will buy it. If they keep the same I am thinking throttled again, but this time right away to head off complaints. Cynical today I am I am S-Pen goes *** click ***
  • I think they definitely will change the architecture. I had no problems with the 801 and 805. I don't know why but I have a really good feeling about the 820. Samsung is intensively testing the 820 right now. Rumors are suggesting the S7 will have 2 chip set versions, Snapdragon and Exynos... Note 5/AC App...
  • The 810 uses the same setup as the E7420 (4x Cortex-A57 + 4x Cortex-A53), albeit with an Adreno GPU. The 820 is using Qualcomm's custom CPUs, like the 800 to the 805.
  • not doubting you, just curious where you saw that 820/Exynos rumor .... that would seem odd, and from a manufacturing standpoint I'd think it'd make the process more complicated than need be.
  • http://www.techtimes.com/articles/79847/20150828/samsung-galaxy-s7-will-... Note 5/AC App...
  • Enough about the 820 already, I can't wait for Qualcomm to announce the 830 for release in the end of 2016. They usually announce their new chips at the end of the year and I expect the 830 might take those custom cores and give us 6 or 8 core designs with even better gpu, even better modems, and most importantly quick charge 4.0. The fastest I'll consider upgrading my nexus 6 is for a nexus phablet running a 830 but I'm secretly hoping that nexus 6 gets upgraded through oreo, so I can hold out for a 840 or maybe even 850 soc nexus phablet. Compared to the 805 a 850 would be night and day differences in performance. Bottom line by 2020 in hoping that smartphones will have the ability to bring star trek computer to life. By the time android zebra cake comes round in hoping that your phone will be able to converse with you like the Holographic doctor on star trek voyage. That is 2028 by the way, the end of the Android era of deser. Named operating systems. What's beyond that? Not sure but I think there is a project that the world will end in 2029 when android runs out of desert names. Unless they start over at A.
  • All I gotta say is Watch out! Verizon unlimited data plan that I'm still clinging on for dear life...I'm downloading the matrix! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Qualcomm will have to do good with this processor. And they know it, because if they have another Fiasco like the 810 I don't think they can recover. If they do hit it out of the park this thing is going to be a beast Posted via the Android Central App
  • Finally being back their own custom SoC ip... Just wished the timing was better for this year's nexus! The lg will be sweet but dang I had hoped the 820 would be ready.
  • I plan on keeping using my nexus 5 until 2016. This chip will probably be in my next phone! :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hi guys, a quick question for android users particularly in the UK. I'm an iPhone user and will probably continue to be one for the foreseeable future due to a variety of reasons - no I'm not a fanboy and no I'm not here to argue etc lol (I feel like I have to make this intro on every post on android forums lol). I love tech and I follow several sites and forums. Anyway, my brother is due an upgrade and he has used Samsung Galaxy phones for last few years (s2, s4). He is not a power user. Nor particularly savvy tbh. I was going to pass him over my current iPhone 6 as I'm going to get the 6s (cue boos and hisses lol) but having asked him a few questions about what he likes, it's apparent he would probably miss a lot of things on the android platform and he has invested some apps and so on. Therefore I've decided the iPhone just wouldn't be his cup of tea. So I'd like to ask the android faithful to help me out on a phone that will be reliable. He CAN get the s6 but he says he's wary of using Samsung as his last 2 galaxies seemed to cause him no end of trouble after the first 6 months or so. Anyway, thanks in advance!
  • i have note 4 but never used fast charger Posted via the Android Central App
  • When I received my note 4 it had in the box an adaptive fast charger. It's labeled right on the charger as adapter fast charging. It's noticeably bigger than the standard Samsung charger.
  • All these incredible bandwidth speeds yet these itty bitty ass caps in the US. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wonderful. And not a single carrier in the U.S, will be able to provide those speeds. Our carriers here are 3 or 4 generations behind, and I see no prospect of them competing on network speed in my lifetime.
  • What we need from new socs is to catch up with iPhones. One example is 240fps 720p and 120fps 1080p video. Another example is stable performance that does not make you hands uncomfortable from the ridiculous heat build up.