Qualcomm has kicked off 2020 by telling us that we should already be looking forward to 2021. When early 2021 gets here, we’ll see a new wave of smartphones powered by the new Qualcomm X60 5G modem, which will dramatically increase performance and also improve power efficiency in the ways that might finally help fulfill some 5G promises.
This new X60 5G modem is the world’s first 5nm-based 5G modem, it can aggregate mmWave and sub-6 spectrum, and it features 3rd-generation mmWave antenna modules that should help slim down device sizes.
I know that’s all obnoxious 5G lingo, so here is the simple breakdown of what this chip can do. For one, as a 5nm modem, it should be much more efficient and could provide a big increase in battery life on 5G phones. Two, the carrier aggregation of 5G mmW and sub-6 means the potential for ridiculous speeds (up to 7.5Gbps down, 3Gbps up) and better coverage. And three, the slimmer mmW antenna modules should help more devices have 5G mmW support that manufacturers may not have found room for previously. Think about the Galaxy S20 and its lack of mmW support. With this new chip, maybe that wouldn’t have been a thing.
Qualcomm says they will start sampling this X60 chip this quarter, but we won’t see it in “commercial premium smartphones” until early 2021. So prepare for the Galaxy S21 to have it.