Qualcomm has taken the wraps off their latest 5G modem which will feature in phones at some point in the future. The new Snapdragon X60 is based on the 5nm fabrication process supports carrier aggregation between Sub-6 and mmWave, and offers up to 7.5 Gbps download speeds.
Time scales with 5G modem run a little slower than normal the time between the initial announcement of the first generation X50 and it actually launching into consumer devices being around two years. The X55 was announced this time last year, so there is a good chance we will see it on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 875.
So you don’t have to worry about your brand new Samsung Galaxy S20 or Xiaomi Mi 10 being out of date just yet.
So how does the new modem differ from the Snapdragon X55 found in this year's phones using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865?
The reduction in the fabrication process from 7nm down to 5nm helps with power efficiency, they haven't said who will make the new modem, TSMC are only in the testing phase for 5nm
he new chipset supports carrier aggregation (widely used by 4G networks) to boost 5G speeds and spectrum efficiency. 5G carrier aggregation is supported both for spectrum blocks on traditional, sub-6GHz, spectrum bands. Qualcomm claims this can double sub-6 speeds, and for blocks split between sub-6 spectrum and higher-frequency, millimetre-wave (mmWave) bands.
It can handle voice calls on networks supporting the 5G NR air interface, which in turn paves the way for 5G networks to be run on a standalone basis.
The X60 now supports Qualcomm’s latest QTM535 mmWave module. It’s a thinner, more compact design than its QTM527 predecessor. This will lead to thinner 5G smartphones, leaving more room for much-needed battery capacity. The QTM535 supports 26GHz, 28GHz, and 39GHz mmWave bands.
Peak download and upload speeds have only increased marginally with 7.5Gbps and 3Gbps compared to 7Gbps and 3Gbps, but the carrier aggregation will likely improve real-life speeds more frequently.