Qualcomm, the world's largest mobile chipmaker, unveiled a new ingredient for future phones that will help devices zip through photo uploads and video streaming at up to double the speed of today's LTE capabilities - without needing a certified 5G phone.
Qualcomm says the new X24 LTE modem can reach theoretical speeds of 2Gbps, wherever supported by carries, which is a significant improvement over theoretical speeds of 1.2Gbps achieved by X20 LTE modem. It's meant to give us a glimpse of the kind of mobile broadband we can expect with the arrival of 5G in 2019.
The world's first Category 20 LTE modem - a 7 nanometer FinFET process - supports up to 2 Gbps download speeds.
We likely won't see the fruits of this achievement until well into 2019, which puts the X24's debut on the cusp of the X50's, Qualcomm's first 5G NR modem. By being able to support both 5G and super-fast LTE connections, devices will be able to more seamlessly make that tradeoff between 5G and LTE since the speeds will - hopefully - be more comparable.
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. As evidenced by our work with these distinguished OEMs from around the globe and as we demonstrated in 3G and 4G LTE, Qualcomm Technologies is utilizing our deep expertise and technology leadership to support the successful launch of 5G NR, driving innovation in the mobile ecosystem.
The X24 is Qualcomm's eighth generation LTE multimode modem and third generation Gigabit LTE solution.
The Snapdragon X24 also offers a glimpse of our 5G future, where the internet connection to our smartphones and other connected devices is faster, more stable and available in more places.
At its 5G Day event in San Diego last week, Qualcomm also demonstrated a trio of trials, showcasing technologies like spectrum sharing and "ultra reliable low latency communication (URLLC)".
It supports up to 7x carrier aggregation in the downlink, as well as 4×4 MIMO on up to five aggregated LTE carriers, for a total of up to 20 concurrent spatial LTE streams.
"As the world's first announced Gigabit LTE modem to achieve speeds of up to 2 Gbps, 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", said Serge Willenegger, GM of 4G/5G and Industrial IOT at Qualcomm.
In the uplink, the X24 supports Category 20 upload speeds, 3x20MHz CA and up to 256 QAM encoding.