Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon X55 5G

Qualcomm is introducing the new Snapdragon X55 5G, capable of delivering 7 GBps of download speed for mobile devices. The modem is a single-chip multi-mode solution made to allow Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to build multimode devices. It also supports combinations of spectrum bands and/or modes like 5G mmWave and sub-6 GHz, standalone and non-standalone modes, Time Division Duplex (TDD) and Frequency Division Duplex (FDD), spectrum sharing, LTE, and legacy modes (3G and 2G).

The company hopes to use the technological breakthrough to connect devices from different categories: mobile devices like smartphones and mobile hotspots, fixed wireless devices such as routers and Customer Premises Equipment (CPEs), Always Connected PCs, XR devices, cars, and more. The company also claims that the modem can provide a near-instant connection, with up to 7 GBps connection speed between the user and the cloud.

The first 5G devices are already in customers’ homes and hands, home routers and hotspots using Qualcomm’s first generation 5G modem- the Snapdragon X50. With over 30 devices slated to use the Snapdragon X50, its successor, the Snapdragon X55, is set to start a “second wave” of slimmer, faster, and more capable 5G products by the end of the year.

The Snapdragon X55 is also expected to resolve issues with 5G: the standards for the latest generation of cellular mobile communications were not yet finalized, pocket-sized devices that use the connection had not been tested, and regulators were also which radio frequencies to allocate to cellular services. The X55 uses a single chip to support previous cellular generations- from 2G to 5G, as well as almost any radio frequency from all the regions of the world. Using the latest 7-nanometer manufacturing process, second-wave 5G devices can now have smaller batteries because the improvements in its components help cut energy consumption.


About Qualcomm

Qualcomm is the world’s biggest provider of mobile chips. It has created a technology that is essential for connecting phones to cellular networks. It is also leading the industry when it comes to developing and manufacturing 5G connectivity chips, with almost all high-end 5G Android phones using its modems this year. The company also integrates its modems with the application processor, reducing power consumption and the space the chip takes up in the device. This allows for sleeker phones or even bigger batteries, upgrades that are expected to take place in the following months. The integrated chip also lets manufacturers quickly develop phones for any 5G network around the world, making 5G handsets cheaper for consumers.


Snapdragon X55 v X50: What Changed?

The X55 is noticeably faster than the X50, around 2GBps higher in terms of download speed, and 2GBps higher in terms of upload speed. The upgrade is expected to enable faster mobile cloud computing, multi-player mobile gaming, 360-degree videos, and instant on-apps, among others. On 4G networks, the X55 can download up to 2.5GBps, which is 25% faster than the company’s standalone X24 LTE modem, which was announced last year.

The X55 is also capable of 5G/4G spectrum sharing, which the X50, obviously, is incapable of doing. The latest modem is also has FDD support, in addition to the TDD that its predecessor offers.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 also offers a standalone mode support, whereas its predecessor only offers non-standalone mode, which means that 5G devices can now rely on its own network for data and non-data related issues.


The 5G: a Needed Improvement

Qualcomm needed a boost from its 5G release especially after its long and costly legal battle with Apple, where the latter disputed Qualcomm’s right to charge royalties for the use of its tech. Qualcomm was trying to uphold its requirement that Apple pay a percentage of the iPhone’s revenue in return for the use of its patent. Lawsuits have been filed from both sides in multiple countries.

Apple is suing Qualcomm for $1 billion in the United States alone, another $145 million in China, and another suit pending in the United Kingdom. Qualcomm also countersued in Germany and China. Apple has also ditched Qualcomm chips in favor of Intel. And with an overall global slowdown in sales of smartphones, the company’s financial prospects have been affected for the worse.


5G: Creating 22 million Jobs

According to a report paid for by Qualcomm, the 5G technology is expected to create 22 million jobs and $12.3 trillion in impact on goods and services, enabled by the technology, by 2035. A broad range of industries will also be affected- from retail to education, transportation to entertainment, and everything in between.

The 5G mobile value chain alone could also reportedly generate around $3.5 trillion in revenue in 2035. Over time, the report says, the technology’s total contribution to Real Global GDP growth is expected to be equivalent to India, the seventh largest economy in the world.


The First 5G-enabled PC Platform

Qualcomm is not just advancing communication technology for mobile phone, it is also paving the road to 5G PCs.Using the X55 modem and the Snapdragon 8cx PC Processor, these 5G-enable PC platforms are expected to benefit from faster internet speeds.

Qualcomm has already been putting chips in laptops for more than a year now. With the X55 and 8cx combination, it is no longer just about power and high-end features. Instead, they are now about portability and modernization, products that are expected to match the contemporary lifestyle of many consumers all around the world. The “Always Connected PC” now has an extended battery life, an always-connected experience, where your emails automatically download in the background just like what a smartphone does. The Qualcomm PCs also includes an LTE connection, something most PCs do not have yet.

With 5G, cloud-computing on your PCs is also expected to improve. The cloud storage, of which data transfer usually takes a lot of time for regular PCs, will now work much more like a local storage. This makes file transfer, gaming services, or apps that are running in the cloud faster and more efficient to run, tremendously improving user experience.

The 8cx is also needed to improve the rendering of apps on the device with its graphics capabilities. It is envisioned to deliver seamless handoffs for PC connectivity while moving between networks, that is starting a computing task on the Wi-Fi network at home, transfer to a carrier-operated 4G or 5G connection while driving to work, and automatically switch to the office 5G network. Qualcomm sees 5G as a complementary technology to existing networks, not a replacement.

The Snapdragon 8cx is meant to compete with Intel’s 15W Intel Core i5. It also includes eight Kryo 495 cores, which is the fastest Kryo CPU that the company has ever made, even faster than the one in the Snapdragon 855. It also reportedly includes an Adreno 680 GPU, touted as the company’s fastest GPU yet, with 2x performance improvement and 60% greater power efficiency versus Snapdragon 850.


Mobile World Congress: Expect more 5G

The first 5G-enabled smartphones are set to make an appearance at MWC Barcelona.

With the theme “Intelligent Connectivity,” carriers are starting to roll out higher-speed 5G networks around the world this year. Every device manufacturer is racing to position themselves as the leader in using and integrating the technology for their devices.

Huawei introduced the “world’s fastest foldable 5G phone,” which costs around 2299 EUROS (or 2600 USD). Xiaomi also unveiled its Mi Mix 3 5G, which uses the X55 predecessor, X50. LG, the South Korean tech company, also revealed its V50 ThinQ 5G, which is the company’s first 5G phone with the Snapdragon 855 chipset and the X50 modem.

China-based manufacturer, OnePlus, also revealed their latest 5G smartphone. The company claims users “can get a taste of 5G cloud gaming” with the technology. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 also uses the technology, and is expected to be available on Verizon’s network in the second quarter.

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