Qualcomm announces new and smaller 5G modem, the Snapdragon X60

19 February 2020

X60 5G snap dragon

Size matters

Size is appropriately a big deal when it comes to components for mobile phones and smart devices, so it's significant news that Qualcomm is launching a new and smaller 5G modem, the Snapdragon X60.

The tiny component promises to increase average 5G speeds while also being substantial smaller. That's thanks to a new 5nm manufacturing process which has gradually revolutionised a lot of development. For instance, it's the same process that's rumoured to be involved in the A14 processors that we could see in future Apple devices.

Thinner with speeds of 7.5 Gbps

What does that mean for consumers? Hopefully a far bette experience with a device that's much thinner than we've seen before. The Snapdragon X60 is already being touted as primarily for premium smartphones because the smaller the components, generally the more expensive they are. While 5G smartphones are also far from inexpensive, it makes sense that the benefits will be seen in the pricier options out there.

While the Snapdragon X60 isn't necessarily faster (although it will be capable of up to 7.5 Gbps per second), it looks like it will offer support for all key 5G bands and combinations which means a more reliable service on all mobile networks. Expect lower latency than before too, which is always useful where streaming content is concerned in particular. There's also the matter of the QTM535 mmWave antenna module which aims to provide superior performance within thinner and sleeker smartphones. Antennas are a big deal within the industry as we've seen with recent news regarding Apple's plans.

Qualcomm released a video to offer some insight into what to expect.

5G phones coming when?

The modem is set to ship shortly to manufacturers. Don't get too excited though. We won't be seeing the first premium smartphones to use the modem until at least early 2021. It's hard to say right now what smartphones we'll see it in although rumours suggest the iPhone after the one announced in September 2020, so the iPhone 13, basically.

What we do know is that those phones will be thinner than current models and may even benefit from other advantages like better battery life. After all, if you can save space on certain components, why not use that room for a better battery?

Tech/games journalist with 10 years of experience.

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