Qualcomm unveils world's most advanced 5G modem

The new Snapdragon X55 will support everything from 2G to 5G networks

Photo: EPA A man uses a virtual reality headset to land a plane at the Qualcomm display on the opening day of the 2019 CES

The first batch of 5G phones haven't even hit the market yet, but Qualcomm's already got a processor prepared for the next-generation devices. Announced last Tuesday the new Snapdragon X55 modem is reportedly designed to accelerate global 5G rollout and unlike the X50 will bring 5G to a broad range of device categories and applications beyond smartphones, including hotspots, Wi-Fi routers, Always Connected PCs*, laptops, tablets, XR devices and connected cars.

Showing up in devices later this year, the X55 is also promising 7Gbps peak download speeds and 3Gbps uploads in ideal conditions. Most importantly, however, the modem will let handset developers create unlocked 5G phones, much like what's available with 4G LTE devices and will run on everything from 2G to 5G networks.

"This converges 30 years of cellular and wireless innovation and R&D from Qualcomm all into this one chip," Nitin Dhiman, Qualcomm staff manager of product marketing, commented in an interview.

The announcement was made a day before Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world’s largest smart phone maker, is expected to present its new flagship Galaxy series phones that include a 5G version. Many major Android vendors - including Huawei, Xioami and LG - are also preparing to unveil 5G phones by the end of the month.

If you have lived under a rock for the last few years, let us explain that 5G is the successor to 4G or LTE, which succeeded 3G and 2G, respectively. Once phones and the network infrastructure have been made 5G-capable, they would smoke the predecessors in terms of speed, but would also radically alter how the world's best smartphones are used every day. Think augmented reality (AR), virtual reality, improved streaming resolutions, holographic displays, enhanced power and next-gen cloud computing, among the benefits.

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