According to a source of Reuters, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro may tap into US mmWave 5G networks using a Samsung modem. This would be a big deal, because as far we know, only chips produced by Qualcomm have connected to a mmWave 5G network on US soil in any publicly available sense. Ultimately, it could mean Qualcomm’s tight grip on our country’s cellular infrastructure might be loosening, which is a good thing.
While Samsung has been chip reliant on itself inside of its home country, the company does use Qualcomm’s chips in the US for connecting to 5G, so it’s a bit surprising that Google may be the first to use Samsung’s 5G modem here in the US. We’re not sure if it’s a cost move by Google or something else? What we do know is that Google appears to be backing away from Qualcomm as much as possible, as evidenced by its creation of the Tensor chip for the new Pixel devices. For those who wanted to know, Tensor is being produced by Samsung.
In a good little piece of drama, when asked for a statement, Qualcomm said, “A modem is not enough to support millimeter wave in phones.” Obviously, that’s true. When Qualcomm announces new 5G modems, it’s always about how it’s an array of silicon and radios that go into making it work, so it’s much more than a single modem.
While these are all pieces on a chessboard for the big companies like Google, Samsung, and Qualcomm, we as consumers simply hope the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are good phones. Personally, not living anywhere near a mmW area, this move won’t affect me, but it could affect many of you reading this.