- Qualcomm has announced its Snapdragon 4-series will have 5G connectivity next year.
- The Snapdragon 4-series are designed for budget and mid-range smartphones.
- Motorola, Xiaomi, and Oppo are partnering Qualcomm for the Snapdragon 4-series chipsets.
Qualcomm is making 5G connectivity more affordable with its chipsets. It has announced its Snapdragon 4-series chipsets will come with 5G modem in the first quarter next year. The Snapdragon 4-series processors are meant for budget smartphones, which means you might see a Rs 15,000 smartphone with 5G support next year. Qualcomm's efforts counter those of MediaTek that has its Dimensity 720 chipset as an affordable one to offer 5G connectivity.
In a release, Qualcomm's president Christiano Amon said that next year's Snapdragon 4-series chipsets will "address regions that currently have approximately 3.5 billion smartphone users combined." These markets include 35 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, and Australia. Qualcomm powers a huge range of Android smartphones from the likes of Xiaomi, Realme, Oppo, Vivo, and LG among others.
Interestingly, Oppo, Xiaomi, and Motorola are partnering Qualcomm right from the beginning to feature the upcoming chipsets on their smartphones next year. It is an interesting development considering 5G is gradually becoming mainstream even though a large fraction of global markets does not even have the next-generation wireless network commercially available yet. One such market is India that does not have a 5G infrastructure but brands are not shying away. Ever since Realme launched the X50 Pro 5G in February, several manufacturers have launched 5G handsets in India over past couple months.
With the launch of the Snapdragon 4-series next year, Qualcomm's 5G chipset portfolio will expand dramatically. Currently, the Snapdragon 8-series, Snapdragon 7-series, and Snapdragon 6-series have select processors that support 5G. The top-end processor is the Snapdragon 865 Plus that you can use on Asus ROG Phone 3 in India while the slightly less powerful Snapdragon 865 processor is on OnePlus 8 series and other smartphones.
But the Snapdragon 4-series is not as ubiquitous as its more powerful counterparts. Qualcomm has Snapdragon 429, Snapdragon 435, Snapdragon 439, Snapdragon 450, and the Snapdragon 460 processors under the series wherein the Snapdragon 429 is suited for entry-level smartphones. Oppo recently launched the A53 powered by the Snapdragon 460 processor, a first in India. OnePlus is also said to launch a much affordable handset, dubbed Clover, that is expected to run the Snapdragon 460 processor. The Chinese company recently launched the Nord that rocks a Snapdragon 765G processor.
Qualcomm's low-tier processors will democratise 5G connectivity in the market, although their rollout will depend largely on OEMs and the feasibility in different markets.