Why Qualcomm’s Newest 5G Chip Is a Game Changer

A few years ago, wireless technology company Qualcomm announced its flagship commercial cellular modem, the Snapdragon X50. The X50 was a 5G modem, this meant that it had to be paired with other modems to handle 3G, 4G, and 2G connectivity. On February 2019, however, the technology giant unveiled its second 5G modem, which they preferred to refer to as Snapdragon X55. This second-generation modem, which is an improvement of what the giant offered via the initial Snapdragon X50, can work with all other networks. Let us have a closer look at some of the improvements that the company effected and why investors should pay consideration.

Higher Speed

According to Qualcomm, the new chip can support 5G upload speeds of about 3 gigabits per second and download speeds of around 7 gigabits per second. On the LTE perspective, given that unlike the X50, the X55 has high download speeds of about 2.5 gigabits per second. This is a considerable upgrade from the two gigabits that the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem offers.

7-Nanometer Manufacturing

Qualcomm announced that the Snapdragon X55 modem is manufactured by a -Nanometer manufacturing technique. Even though the X24 LTE modem and the yet to be announced Snapdragon 855 are built using this 7-Nanometer manufacturing technique, the company opted to manufacture the X50 using an older technique. The 7-Nanometer manufacturing technology enables better power efficiency and a smaller chip area. Given that the X55 will basically be powering smartphones, the decision to employ the 7-Nanometer Manufacturing technique is a good step for the modem. Qualcomm did not name the modem’s manufacturer, but it is believable to think that TMC will be manufacturing this chip. Qualcomm and Samsung have, however, been talking about their partnership for future chips; nonetheless, since Qualcomm decided to hide the manufacture of this modem, it might be safe to write off Samsung.

Samples for Now

The technology giant has stated that the X55 will only be sampled to consumers for now but will be sold commercially with time. This means that the X55, and any other application processor that Qualcomm will release with the X55 chip integrated, will only be manufactured in large volumes in 2020.

So, What Next?

There are numerous reasons why investors should be concerned about the announcement of this product. First, the X55 is an indication that Qualcomm is ahead of its game in as far as modern technology is concerned. The X55 is easily the most advanced modem that has been unveiled thus far. A strong position in the industry will do a lot to fortify the company’s competitive position in mobile processors. Secondly, Qualcomm has indicated that the change to 5G offers the organization both an opportunity to grow its share within smartphone chips as well as sell a rich mix of products. It is clear that the X55 coupled with RF solutions will help the company to boost its selling prices. These predictions only indicate that the technology giant will continue to grow in the coming years.

The Internet of Things

The massive deployment of 5G networks will be a big boost for the Internet of Things in the network world. According to NEC Corporation, 5G network is not just about higher speed but it also provides the benefits associated with connecting more devices. The network will mostly be used in public spaces before it can affect people at an individual level. The public usage of 5G, and chips such as X55 in extension, will be in areas such as cybersecurity. However, Qualcomm has already started working on designs and chips of 5G handsets and other devices that will be ready with time.

Moreover, according to NEC, 5G network offers new capabilities such as massive connections and low latency. The biggest difference between 5G and 4G is that 4G networks are designed to suit communications between people while 5G networks are designed to better suit communication between things and people. Just to put the whole idea in perspective, through 5G networks, people will be able to download two-hour movies in less than three seconds. In short, 5G enabled devices will enable social transformation and changes in work and lifestyles, advance the automation of business processes and IT operations, and initiate network transformation by building secure networks for numerous applications. Qualcomm is truly ahead of time through the Snapdragon X55 chip.


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