Most Qualcomm processors will include a 5G modem next year

Oppo, LG, Nokia and other manufacturers will adopt the tech.

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Steve Dent
September 6, 2019 8:00 AM

Qualcomm has announced that it will integrate its 5G technology into its midrange 6- and 7-series processors and not just its flagship 8-series tech. That means that by 2020, you'll be able to purchase a moderately priced device and still get 5G speeds that go well beyond 1 Gbps. It announced that the tech would be used in smartphones built by Oppo, Realme, Redmi, Vivo, Motorola, Nokia and LG. That's on top of Samsung, which is already expected to use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 successor with built-in 5G.

The 5G integrated processors will support all key regions and frequency bands, including mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum, TDD and FDD, 5G multi-SIM and more. Qualcomm said it's working on over 150 5G designs as part of a long-term high-speed wireless roadmap.

As it stands now, manufacturers must use a separate processor and 5G modem, increasing both the cost and bulk of a device. Most of the current high-end smartphones with 5G uses Qualcomm's X50 modem, including the Galaxy Note 10 Plus and a bevy of others introduced earlier this year. Another device using it is Samsung's new Galaxy A90 5G that's considerably cheaper than the Galaxy S10 5G was at launch.

Qualcomm recently unveiled the faster and more power-efficient X55 modem based on 7-nanometer tech, but it won't arrive until 2020. The latest integrated 5G processors and separate 5G modems will use Qualcomm's "Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF System" that marries the modem, RF tranceiver and RF front-end.

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By next year, Qualcomm will sell 6-, 7- and 8-series processors with and without 5G modems. The company said that the 7-series 5G platform will be ready by fourth quarter with "devices expected to launch soon thereafter." 6-series smartphones will start to be available in the second half of 2020. As for the high-end Snapdragon 8-series 5G platform, Qualcomm said it would release more details later this year.

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