Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Tech | By Tabitha Holland

Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 doubles down on Gigabit LTE

Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 doubles down on Gigabit LTE

"The 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". The X24 LTE will be an upgrade over X20 LTE modem found on company's flagship Snapdragon 845 mobile platform. In the initial days of 5G networks, coverage will be quite limited, so it seems like Qualcomm is taking the advance move.

Today, Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon X24 4G LTE modem, the first to support speeds of up to 2Gbps. Even though the 2Gbps download speeds is the maximum theoretical speeds that the LTE modem is able to achieve, the Snapdragon X24 is capable of sustaining high peak download speeds even on congested networks. 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. The Snapdragon X24, on the other hand, is a future-ready modem - setting the ground for 5G connectivity.

Qualcomm is predicting that commercial devices featuring the X24 will be available this year, despite reports that its largest customer may abandon its modems altogether.

The company last week said the 18 carriers will soon start to field-test its Snapdragon X50 modem, and it's working hard to corner the OEM business as well, with Asus, two Fujitsu units, HMD Global (Nokia licensee for phones), HTC, Inseego/Novatel Wireless, LG, NetCommWireless, NETGEAR, OPPO, SharpCorporation, Sierra Wireless, SonyMobile, Telit, vivo, Wingtech, WNC, Xiaomi and ZTE singed on to use the modem. In addition, we will also see the first 5G devices.

The new Category 20 LTE modem features 7x20MHz carrier aggregation, and up to 4x4 MIMO on five carriers and a maximum of 20 spatial streams.

The Snapdragon X24 is the first product of its type built on a 7-nm FinFET manufacturing process, which means all that speed could arrive in a smaller package than the X20.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can offer better mobile experiences such as 360-degree video, connected cloud computing, more entertainment and instant apps. While this may be true, most carriers still don't support this. At the beginning, as carriers start to roll out their 5G networks, 4G LTE is going to still be important for many mobile users.

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