Today, Qualcomm introduced its second-generation 5G modem, the Snapdragon X55. The chip is the successor to the Snapdragon X50, and it comes with some big improvements. Introduced in October 2016, the X50 only supports a lowly 5Gbps download speed. The Snapdragon X55 will support up to 7Gbps.
But while the Snapdragon X50 was introduced well over two years ago, it hasn't made it into the real world. That's coming this year with Snapdragon 855 devices. That also means that we won't see the X55 in the wild until later on.
Aside from speed improvements, another major feature is that the 7nm chip supports 4G LTE speeds of up to 2.5Gbps. This is important because devices you'll see this year will have separate modems for 4G and 5G, as 5G will need to fall back to 4G when it's not available. Now, it can be done through the same chip. The implication of this is that the X55 will be integrated into all premium chipsets by 2020, meaning that all flagship phones will be 5G by then.
“Qualcomm Technologies is spearheading the first wave of 5G launches with our first generation 5G mobile platform. With significant evolution in capabilities and performance, our second generation commercial 5G modem is a true testament to the maturity and leadership of our 5G technology. We expect our 5G platform to accelerate 5G commercial momentum and power virtually all 5G launches in 2019 while significantly expanding the global 5G rollout footprint,” said Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated.
The Snapdragon X55 supports every major band worldwide, including sub-6 GHz bands and mmWaves. It will use Qualcomm's second-generation antennas, which were also announced today and are less than 8mm thick.
Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon X55 is being sampled to customers, and it should arrive in commercial devices by the end of the year.