Chip maker Qualcomm is getting ready to launch its 3rd-gen 5G modem… just a year after introducing the 1st-gen model.

The upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G modem should be faster and more versatile than last year’s Snapdragon X50 or this year’s Snapdragon X55, but you might have to wait a little while to get a phone with the new wireless chip. Qualcomm says it’ll begin shipping samples to customers within the next month or two, but we shouldn’t expect it to show up in smartphones until early 2021.

That means most premium phones that ship this year with Qualcomm chips will likely have a Snapdragon X55 modem… and honestly, most users probably won’t see much difference. But on paper the new chip has a few advantages.

  • It’s the first 5G modem with a 5 nanometer baseband.
  • It has a new QTM535 mmWave antenna module.
  • Qualcomm says the new modem is also the first “5G Modem-RF System to support spectrum aggregation across all key 5G bands.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that not only will it support pretty much any 5G network around the world, but that it supports carrier aggregation and simultaneous connections to two different types of 5G networks — mmWave and sub-6 GHz.

According to Qualcomm that means that the Snapdragon X60 modem supports download speeds up to 7.5 Gbps and peak upload speeds as high as 3 Gbps.

Interestingly, Qualcomm’s press release has little to say about power efficiency, other than that you can expect all-day battery life in some devices, depending on “settings, usage, and other factors.”



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1 Comment

  1. I wonder when we’ll start seeing SoCs with integrated 5G. Seems like this 2 chip thing is going to be power hungry like with the early 4G phones.

    As far as smartphones are concerned and my own personal use cases though, I’ll be sticking to 4G phones if they have better battery life and/or cheaper. For me, my Verizon LTE gets me 150-200 Mbps at home and 30+ Mbps at places I go to on a weekly basis (public Wi-Fi is almost always much slower). More than enough for what I do on a phone.

    Who knows, maybe those other non-smartphone use cases may actually happen and make 5G not as hyped up as I think it is.

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