Qualcomm announces new AI chip
Image: Qualcomm

This weekend, semiconductor company Qualcomm announced that it would be releasing a range of 5G chipsets next year. In addition to producing modems for high-end handsets like Samsung’s Galaxy S10, the firm will also create a line of 5G chips for budget device makers. As such, consumers will be able to access fifth-generation data speeds without paying thousands of dollars for a flagship phone.

Qualcomm’s Three Lines of 5G Chipsets

Qualcomm made its revelation at Germany’s IFA 2019 consumer electronics show. Starting next year, the company will produce Snapdragon series 8 modems for devices like the Galaxy S10 and Note 10. Furthermore, the firm said that it will also manufacture less expensive series 6 and 7 5G chips for companies like Motorola, Nokia, and Oppo.

Qualcomm also announced that it is developing 150 different designs for its next-generation modems. As such, the corporation predicts that more than two billion consumers will gain access to 5G data networks with its products. The chipmaker has stated that the deployment of 5G technology will prompt $3.5 trillion in consumer device spending by 2035.

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The semiconductor company’s next-generation chipsets will come with some much-needed upgrades. Qualcomm’s series 8 chips will be integrated with its new Snapdragon processor to allow for the design of cheaper and more energy-efficient handsets. Moreover, the company said that its series 7 modems will also feature integrated processors.

A Shift Towards Affordability

Qualcomm’s decision to begin producing chips for modestly priced handsets reflects a larger shift in the mobility sector. In August, marketing research firm Gartner reported that Huawei and Samsung dominated the mobile phone industry in Q2 2019. The two firms’ dominance wasn’t the result of consumers flocking to their new luxury devices. Instead, the corporations profited by selling millions of modestly priced phones.

The combination of a looming global recession and a lack of innovative new features have caused an extended slowdown in the mobile device sector. Moreover, trends are starting to show that consumers opt for a midrange device like Samsung’s Galaxy A when choosing a new smartphone. The prospect of gigabit data speeds will draw in customers, but $1,000-2,000 priced devices might push them away.

By diversifying its product line, Qualcomm is simply responding to consumer demand. If Apple wants to maintain its market position, it will follow suit when rolling out its own 5G iPhones. Otherwise, the company that mainstreamed the notion of a luxury smartphone will get left behind.

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