The goal is to launch devices with the Snapdragon X24 sometime in the end of 2018, and that the modem will work in tandem alongside the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem in multimode 4G/5G devices when 5G networks begin to roll out in 2019. Qualcomm also confirmed that the new Snapdragon X24 LTE modem would be featured in a live demonstration at the Mobile World Congress 2018 tech show in conjunction with Ericsson, Telstra and Netgear.
The world's first Category 20 LTE modem - a 7 nanometer FinFET process - supports up to 2 Gbps download speeds.
Qualcomm has announced what is likely its last LTE modem, the X24, capable of 2Gbps peak download speeds.
Before we get there, though, we need to continue on the current path, which means maxing out the potential of 4G LTE and making all networks and all phones more efficient. The highest carrier aggregation now supported in Canada is 4x carrier aggregation, though through the use of unlicensed spectrum carriers could take full advantage of the modem's capabilities.
Speaking to Qualcomm, we learned that while the chip is being demonstrated in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress later this month, the X24 won't actually be commercially available until the end of the year - and that's just in standalone configuration. After all, why pay for the fancy 5G modem (which will nearly certainly come at a hefty cost premium) if you don't need it?
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But 5G won't be limited to mobile broadband and phones; Qualcomm wants its chips to be ubiquitous in industrial enterprises - private 5G networks are going to be big, and have the potential to replace wired ethernet setups in many business environments - as well as in cars, which will need a connection to the internet on the way to autonomy, the company argues. The X24 LTE will be an upgrade over X20 LTE modem found on company's flagship Snapdragon 845 mobile platform. Further, the new Snapdragon modem has 4x4 MIMO antenna arrays on five LTE carriers to enable a maximum of 20 concurrent LTE streams at once.
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)". There is also full-dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO) to give way to carriers to start sending their 5G signals.
Qualcomm says its fibre-like data speeds enhance burgeoning data-heavy cellular activities like immersive 360-degree video, connected cloud computing and instant apps.
In the uplink, Snapdragon X24 supports Category 20 upload speeds, 3×20 MHz CA and up to 256-QAM. "At the same time, operators can gain flexibility in using their spectrum assets to offer blazing fast speeds to consumers, while also improving their network capacity and maximising spectral efficiency", said Qualcomm in its blog post.