5G is undoubtedly the in-thing right now with mobile technology. Everyone’s speaking about it (nobody is using it though) and in a few years to come, it’s going to change the way we use the internet while on the move. One brand that has been pushing 5G adoption is Qualcomm. Understandably so, because the majority of smartphones we use have Qualcomm’s chipsets which use their modems for network connectivity. While we’re still right at the beginning of 2020, Qualcomm has already unveiled its X60 modem that smartphones in 2021 will come equipped with.
While the X55 modem that goes along with the Snapdragon 865, this year’s flagship SoC is already capable of running 5G networks, the X60 aims to improve stability as well as the average connection speed by introducing a combination of both sub-6 GHz networks as well as mm-wave networks. The X60 stands out due to the fact that it will be manufactured on the 5nm manufacturing process which is the best achievable node to this date. The X55 for this year is manufactured on the 7nm process.
The Qualcomm X60 modem can achieve download speeds of up to 7.5 Gbps with uploads speeds going up to 3 Gbps. There’s no stark difference in speeds when compared to the X55 modem which can achieve up to 7 Gbps up and the same 3 Gbps down speeds, but the major difference according to Qualcomm will be the average speeds, which have been improved on the X60. This is achieved by aggregating the sub-6 GHz and mm-wave networks as stated earlier. The X60 also has increased network capacity and a wider coverage area.
Qualcomm is aiming to provide a fiber-like internet experience on your smartphone while aiming to reduce latency to a bare minimum while performing tasks like gaming, video calling, and cloud computing. Power efficiency is also a key area that needs attention given that 5G, at least as of now is considered to be a battery hog. Qualcomm says that we should be seeing devices with the X60 modem in early 2021, which indicates it could be paired with the next-gen flagship Soc from Qualcomm, maybe the Snapdragon 875. Phones with 5G are already plenty, it would be interesting though to see how well and how quickly network operators throughout the world can roll out the technology.