November 25, 2020

Qualcomm announces its new 5G modem, the Snapdragon X60

Qualcomm announces its new 5G modem, the Snapdragon X60

Qualcomm announces its third generation 5G modem for smartphones, the Snapdragon X60. Engraved in 5 nm and accompanied by a more compact antenna module, it should greatly contribute to the development of 5G in 2021.

The Mobile World Congress 2020 will not take place , but announcements from the sector are well maintained. As usual, Qualcomm announced on February 18 its new cellular modem, the Snapdragon X60. This is its third generation 5G modem, which is part of a larger solution that covers the entire RF system up to the antennas.

The Snapdragon X60 will be the first modem to be engraved with a fineness of 5 nanometers according to Qualcomm. This will make it possible to reduce its size and energy consumption, despite an increase in its performance. It is also the most advanced on the market in terms of spectrum aggregation, including between millimeter waves (mmWave) and Sub-6 GHz, and between FDD (frequency division duplex) and TDD (time division duplex) multiplexing methods. for the Sub-6 GHz bands. It is capable of downstream speeds of up to 7.5 Gbps and of upstream speeds of up to 3 Gbps.


The ability to mix mmWave frequencies (in the 24 GHz, 26 GHz, 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands) and the Sub-6 GHz is Qualcomm’s big advantage over the competition in 5G modems. The mmWave use cases are different (connectivity in ultra dense urban areas, stadiums or concert halls) but complementary to those of the Sub-6 GHz frequencies, which represent more conventional cellular use. Note that this modem is accompanied by a dedicated mmWave antenna module, the QTM535, more compact than the previous generation. These compact antennas are another advantage of Qualcomm compared to its competitors.

The presentation of new architectures is always done well before the marketing of products. Samples will be provided to manufacturers in the first quarter of 2020, but the first smartphones equipped with the X60 will not be released until 2021. Qualcomm has not given any details regarding the possible integration of the X60 into its System-on-a- Chip (SoC), but it is likely to be the case. Cristiano Ammon, CEO of the company, had revealed to us in December 2019 that one of the limits to the integration of the X55 within the Snapdragon 865 chip is the size of the latter. Moving to the 5nm manufacturing process will break this barrier.


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