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Qualcomm (QCOM), on Tuesday unveiled two next-generation 5G modems in the form of its Snapdragon X65 and Snapdragon X62 chips. Both modems are designed for use in everything from smartphones to fixed wireless broadband stations and promise improved battery life, but the X65’s outrageous speeds are the showstopper here.
Qualcomm says the Snapdragon X65 can handle speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second over 5G. For those keeping count, that’s 10 times faster than the gigabit LTE and, according to Qualcomm, 100 times faster than early iterations of LTE.
It’s important to note that you’re not likely to see those 10 gigabit speeds during regular use, as interference, distance from a tower, and other factors play into the actual speeds you see on your phone. But according to Qualcomm SVP and head of 5G, Durga Malladi, those top-line theoretical speeds still translate to faster average speeds for users.
“For an average consumer on a smartphone, it really starts raising the bar on the guaranteed data rates, the minimum data rates, along with the average user experience,” Malladi told Yahoo Finance Live.
It’s not just about speed, though. With wider bandwidth capabilities, the X65 will help cut down on network congestion. So if you’re streaming a video around a lot of other people, you won’t have to fight for connectivity. It’ll simply be there.
The X65, and X62 for that matter, will also be able to access a wide range of 5G bands on a single chip including millimeter wave and sub-6 Ghz. In fact, it’s the use of bandwidth aggregation, or combining multiple wireless signals into a one using millimeter wave and sub-6 Ghz connections, that allows the X65 to achieve its incredible speeds.
But the X65 is meant for more than just streaming 4K videos. Qualcomm says the modem is capable of use in industrial settings, as well. Beyond that, it will allow users to do things like access remote computer systems and use them without experiencing lag, making it feel as though they’re using their own local devices.
And if used in a base station, basically a box that lets you use 5G for your home or business, the X65 could blow away standard wired internet connection.
All of this, though, depends on the carriers continuing to roll out their 5G networks, making sure that users and businesses alike can gain access to 5G connections on the go or in their homes and businesses. Millimeter wave 5G is especially tricky, as it can only travel a short distance and is easily blocked by things like trees, windows, and even people.
Of course, Qualcomm’s 5G chip won’t make its way into phones built by Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, which the U.S. has placed on its so-called entity list for suspicions that it works with the Chinese military.
According to Malladi, smartphones with the new Qualcomm chips will start shipping in the second half of 2021. That could mean Apple’s next-generation iPhone will launch with the latest chip, giving users an enhanced 5G experience over the iPhone 12 line.
We’ll have to wait until later this year to find out, though.
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