The goal is to launch devices with the Snapdragon X24 sometime in the end of 2018, and that the modem will work in tandem alongside the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem in multimode 4G/5G devices when 5G networks begin to roll out in 2019. And while most of us have marveled at the 10nm manufacturing process that is used for today's flagship smartphones, the Snapdragon X24 is built on a new 7nm FinFET process.
Qualcomm's Product marketing director Sherif Hanna told Vulture South network services and devices are now expected in the first half of 2019, with a little snark for current "5G" demonstrations (without specifically naming the test at the Pyongchang Winter Olympics). At top speed, it's twice as fast as the company's previous gigabit LTE modem, and while it's still unlikely to see those speeds in real life - which is more of a carrier-side problem - improving the technology in devices should still lead to faster speeds overall. Meanwhile, Verizon hasn't even announced plans for a mobile 5G network at this point, and so it's possible the carrier will have no need for the X50 modem next year, and could instead choose the likely-cheaper X24 solution for its next-generation phones.
As the world's first commercially announced Category 20 LTE modem supporting download speeds up to 2 Gbps, the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem delivers 2x the speed of the Company's first generation Gigabit LTE modem. The Snapdragon X24, on the other hand, is a future-ready modem - setting the ground for 5G connectivity.
To achieve those 2Gbps speeds, the chip can combine up to seven connections at once, known as 7x carrier aggregation, with hundreds of potential combinations of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum to find those speeds. Qualcomm has also recently demonstrated more advanced 5G technologies like spectrum sharing as it seeks to better other the players vying for supremacy in the 5G space such as Samsung and Intel. There is also full-dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO) to give way to carriers to start sending their 5G signals.
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"Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sets a major mobile industry milestone, created to provide enhanced mobile broadband and deliver an extremely important gigabit coverage layer for commercial 5G networks and mobile devices that are expected to start launching in 2019", said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT, Qualcomm Wireless.
Qualcomm says its fibre-like data speeds enhance burgeoning data-heavy cellular activities like immersive 360-degree video, connected cloud computing and instant apps.
On the part of uplink support, the Snapdragon X24 has three carrier aggregation at a frequency of 20MHz, two LTE streams at maximum speeds of 106Mbps, and up to 256-QAM. Operators will also be able to use their spectrum more efficiently while delivering high speeds to consumers.