The first smartphones with support for 5G networks are coming soon, many of which will likely use Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X50 5G modem. But you can’t actually buy one just yet. That hasn’t stopped Qualcomm from introducing its second 5G modem though — and there’s actually a pretty good reason for that.
The Snapdragon X55 5G modem is a 7nm chip that supports theoretical top download speeds up to 7 Gbps and upload speeds as high as 3 Gbps.
While the Snapdragon X50 is a 5G-only modem, the Snapdragon X55 also supports 4G LTE Cat 22 (with download speeds up to 2. 5Gbps), as well as 3G and 2G networks.
At this point there aren’t all that many parts of the world covered by 5G networks, so 4G support is kind of a must-have. The good news is that devices with X50 modems also probably have a Snapdragon 855 processor, which has a Qualcomm 4G modem baked in. But the new X55 chip can be used in devices that may not already have an integrated cellular modem.
In addition to smartphones, it could be used for always-on computers, internet-connected automobiles, or IoT devices.
Other features that help set the X55 apart from the X50 include support for adaptive antenna tuning for better power efficiency and faster 5G data transfer speeds.
The first devices products using Snapdragon X55 modems should ship by the end of 2019.