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Qualcomm Says Snapdragon X50 Modem Is a 5G First

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Oct 18, 2016, 8:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon X50 5G modem, what it claims is the first "commercial 5G modem chipset" for mobile device makers. The Snapdragon X50 isn't necessarily intended to reach consumer-grade devices. Instead, it is meant to help companies build potential 5G cellular devices and also help network operators with their 5G trials. The modem targets millimeter wave operation in the 28 GHz spectrum band. It boasts MIMO antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques. These are meant to help maintain connections when the device does not have a direct line-of-site to the cell tower or signal source. The Snapdragon X50 boasts download speeds up to 5 Gbps. Qualcomm says the X50 can be paired with most any Snapdragon processor and will support multi-mode 4G/5G operation. Qualcomm believes making the Snapdragon X50 5G modem available to phone makers and network operators is vital in moving 5G forward through lab tests, field trials, early deployments, and, eventually, standardization. Phone makers, in particular, might benefit from testing the X50 early so they can optimize their devices to function with mmWave technology. The Snapdragon X50 5G development platform will include transceivers, power management chips, and the modem. Qualcomm expects the platform to sample during the second half of 2017 with commercial products appearing in the first half of 2018.


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