The next Qualcomm processor could really launch the 5G in 2020


The first wave of 5G phones is starting to be announced, but if the news of today's Qualcomm escapes us, the real starting point of the next generation network will not come until the beginning of 2020, when Qualcomm will ship its first processor with integrated 5G modem.

This is because until now, the first 5G phones are a bit like a bargain. Currently, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset is equipped with an integrated LTE modem and not a 5G modem from the company. This means that all 5G phones equipped with a Snapdragon 855 – a list including the Galaxy S10 5G, the Galaxy Fold, the LG V50, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G and the OnePlus 5G phone – also need to have access to the phone. a separate 5G modem more space inside the phone and drains more power.

The next flagship processor from Qualcomm will avoid these problems. Modem integration will eliminate some of the disadvantages of 5G, such as higher power demand, a more efficient chip and internal space savings for a larger battery. This could allow 5G phones as thin and light as the LTE phones we currently have, which is an attractive prospect (assuming that the 5G battery life can meet current LTE standards, which is certainly a great hypothesis).

But Qualcomm integrating 5G into its flagship chipset would have a much bigger effect. Assuming that the 5G chip is Qualcomm's only flagship processor, not just the 5G variant of an LTE chip, Qualcomm could then, in one fell swoop, make 5G compatibility the default almost all the leading Android products on the market.

At the moment, 5G is a complement that should be considered as a separate decision in the design process for companies that rely on Qualcomm chips, such as Samsung and Sony. The new built-in chipset could make 5G the default support from the start, which would greatly increase the chances of phone manufacturers taking advantage of the new network.

And Qualcomm, this change is a big problem. Apart from some extreme cases, like Apple, Huawei and some of Samsung's international phones, all major smartphones are essentially powered by Qualcomm chips equipped with Qualcomm modems. By offering the 5G ready to use for each Android flagship product, Qualcomm could do more to advance the adoption of 5G than any individual launch of operators or phone makers.

The bad news is that we are still far from seeing phones equipped with this next processor. The first phones equipped with an LTE-only 853 Snapdragon exclusively reserved for LTE have just been announced at the Mobile World Congress, and we have not yet announced the price or the release date of a phone. using a Qualcomm 5G modem. Qualcomm itself will not have the new integrated 5G processor ready to be delivered to customers before the end of the year, and the first equipped phones will only be delivered in the first half of 2020, which means that in the best case, we are one year away from the first truly mainstream 5G phones.

Yet this could be for the better. Maybe in 2020, we will actually have functional 5G networks to use with these phones.


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