- Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon X60 5G modem.
- The Snapdragon X60 is manufactured on the 5nm mode.
- Qualcomm is promising download speeds of up to 7.5Gbps.
5G is a distant dream in India but globally, several markets have already caught on to the 5G era. Hence, phone makers are going all-in with 5G enabled devices. Most of these phones are relying on Qualcomm's 5G modems, which are currently the best in business. Given that 5G is expected to g mainstream in the next year or two, Qualcomm has announced the next-generation 5G modem for a smartphone. It's called the Snapdragon X60 and it aims to raise 5G performance bar.
The Snapdragon X60 isn't throwing up glorified numbers when compared to the Snapdragon X55 but it is packing clever technology to improve the quality of services. The chip uses the smaller and more efficient 5nm node and it supports both the mmWave as well as Sub-6 frequencies. Qualcomm is promising download speeds of up to 7.5Gbps and upload speeds of up to 3Gbps with the Snapdragon X60 modem.
To make it more compatible with global networks, the Snapdragon X60 has been given support for both TDD and FDD 5G networks. Additionally, the modem also supports older networks like 4G, 3G and 2G. This will make it suitable for phones in countries like India where 5G is yet to come and even when it comes, 4G might remain the mainstream network for a long time.
Qualcomm says that smartphones based on Snapdragon X60 can use Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), to deploy 5G services on low-frequency bands from the LTE bands. According to Qualcomm, the modem can let operators flexibly utilise a mix of frequency bands (mmWave, sub-6 GHz including low bands), band types (5G FDD and TDD), and deployment modes (SA and NSA) to achieve an optimal combination of high-speed and low-latency network coverage.
Qualcomm is also offering features such as mmWave-sub6 aggregation, sub-6 FDD-TDD aggregation, Voice-over-NR (VoNR), and DSS that can help operators accelerate transitioning to 5G SA mode. Currently, most 5G networks utilise the NSA mode to deploy a 5G data link.
Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon X60 will be available in phones starting from 2021. It remains to be seen whether Qualcomm integrates the modem with future Snapdragon chips or offers it in the same business model as the current generation Snapdragon 865. Currently, phone makers using the Snapdragon 865 need to bundle it with the Snapdragon X55 5G modem as the modem is not integrated with the chipset at all.