5G connectivity is finally seeing mainstream adoption in 2020 as more and more smartphones and mobile SoCs add support for the next generation of telecommunications technology. The push for 5G has been very widespread in recent months, although some key markets may not have consumer 5G ready until next year. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped chip makers from pushing the envelope forward with bringing 5G down to lower tiers. Now, Qualcomm has announced its plans to bring 5G to even wider segments of users, promising new Snapdragon 4-series chips with 5G support in early 2021.
Today’s announcement from Qualcomm is bereft of a fair few details. While we can expect the modem to be integrated like on Qualcomm’s current 7 and 6-series 5G chips, we don’t know the supported bands, the theoretical download and upload speeds, the sub-6GHz bandwidth, and whether or not the modem will support mmWave 5G and/or standalone (SA) 5G. There are also other specs and features to be aware of, such as whether or not the chipset supports Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), 5G dual SIM dual standby (DSDS), and Qualcomm’s proprietary 5G PowerSave, Smart Transmit, Wideband Envelope Tracking, and Signal Boost adaptive antenna tuning technologies. Whatever they do announce, though, heralds hope for a wider proliferation of 5G. Qualcomm’s promise of 5G connectivity support on its upcoming Snapdragon 4-series chips will bring 5G support to budget and lower mid-range smartphones across the globe.
“Qualcomm continues to pave the way for 5G commercialization at scale, and the expansion of 5G into our Snapdragon 4-series is expected to address regions that currently have approximately 3.5 billion smartphone users combined. The Snapdragon 4-series 5G Mobile Platform is designed to exceed expectations for the mass-market segment by bringing an assortment of predominately high- and mid-tier features to a broader audience. It will deliver on the promise of making 5G accessible to all smartphone users.”
Cristiano Amon, President, Qualcomm Incorporated
Qualcomm’s current 5G-capable chipsets include the Snapdragon 855, 855 Plus, 865, 865 Plus, 765, 765G, 768G, and 690, with the 765, 765G, 768G, and 690 featuring integrated 5G modems. As is made apparent, there is a lack of 5G-capable chipsets on the lower end of Qualcomm’s chip portfolio. Qualcomm mentions that the expansion of 5G support to the Snapdragon 4-series will address regions where budget smartphones dominate, which includes approximately 3.5 billion users across the world. Not everyone may be ready to jump aboard right when new phones with the SoC arrive, but this would certainly shape the forthcoming months and years of smartphone evolution.
Smartphones with the 5G Snapdragon 4-series are expected to arrive from OPPO, Motorola, and Xiaomi, but we suspect many other OEMs to also jump on board sooner or later. The first batch of smartphones with the 5G Snapdragon 4-series is expected to arrive in Q1 2021.
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