Qualcomm's X70 5G modem has an AI processor to improve signal strength

It will arrive in commercial devices in late 2022.


Over the past few years, Qualcomm has announced 5G modems that have consistently pushed download speeds to new heights, culminating with the X65 in 2021, the company’s first 10-gigabit 5G modem. In 2022, the company is taking a different tack. The X70, its latest modem, is fast, but it’s also more consistent and power-efficient, and it’s all thanks to AI.

The X70 isn’t the first Qualcomm modem to use a machine learning algorithm to improve performance. Last year, the company leveraged the technology to make its X65 modem better at adapting its antenna tuning to changing hand grips. But what makes the X70 different is that includes a dedicated 5G AI processor – a first for a cellular modem, according to the company.

In addition to improving average speeds, Qualcomm claims the processor makes the X70 better at mmWave beam management, allowing it to establish a more robust link when using the notoriously finicky spectrum. It also utilizes that processor for network selection and antenna tuning, leading to better coverage and link strength. Qualcomm claims all of that makes the X70 capable of making the most of whatever spectrum resources a device has available to it at any one moment.

Naturally, the X70 is fast too. It’s capable of theoretical download speeds of 10Gbps. That said, you’re unlikely to see X70-equipped devices achieve those kinds of speeds in real-world use. A lot of that will depend on your carrier and the state of their 5G network.

Qualcomm expects to start providing Snapdragon X70 samples to commercial customers in the second half of 2022. The company didn’t name customers but did note it expects X70-equipped devices to launch by late 2022, suggesting its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 successor could integrate the modem. Once it becomes available, devices that come with the X70 will carry the company’s new Snapdragon Connect branding, a badge that indicates the product you’re about to buy comes with its latest and greatest connectivity technologies.

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