Qualcomm’s X60 modem will power 5G smartphones in 2021

Qualcomm's new X60 modem will power 2021 5G smartphones.
Image: Qualcomm

The 5G takeover is just beginning. Network providers are only starting to roll out 5G coverage in select cities. Only T-Mobile has unveiled a nationwide 5G network at this point. While the new protocol will certainly drive new advancements in technology, it also requires some hardware upgrades.

This year will be a big one for the 5G-enabled smartphone market. Major device manufacturers like Samsung, Apple, LG, and OnePlus are rolling out (or plan to include) 5G capabilities in their flagship phones. However, innovation doesn’t stop.

Looking forward to next year, the push towards 5G will only get stronger. Qualcomm’s recently unveiled X60 modem will power that revolution across the board thanks to its emphasis on increasing average speeds.

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Meet the X60 Modem

Qualcomm continually keeps itself ahead of the game when it comes to unveiling new components. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the chip manufacturer is already unveiling one of its most important offerings for 2021.

The Snapdragon X60 modem utilizes 5-nanometer process technology to offer lower power consumption and a smaller physical footprint than its predecessors. This will allow smartphone manufacturers to make their devices sleeker than ever without compromising on performance.

In terms of new features, the X60 won’t offer much. However, that isn’t surprising considering that Qualcomm’s current generation of modems includes some of the first designed with 5G in mind. Similarly, it won’t provide much of an increase in peak speeds. The X60 tops out at a 7.5 Gbps download speed and 3 Gbps upload speed. That’s only a slight increase over the X55 chip’s 7 Gbps download speed and identical upload metric.

Nonetheless, the X60 will grant users faster average speeds. It will accomplish this by more efficiently aggregating sub-6 GHz networks and integrating that connection with the faster millimeter wave spectrum. The X60 modem also lets smartphones bypass 4G altogether and connect directly to 5G networks.

Advancing the Advancements

Altering the chips that facilitate 5G isn’t a change that everyone will appreciate. After all, most people still don’t have access to it. However, doing so will help drive the age of 5G forward by providing a better user experience for those who are able to access the newest network protocol and increasing its availability for others.

Durga Malladi, head of Qualcomm’s 5G operations says, “The Snapdragon X60… allows more operators to offer fiber-like internet speeds and low latency using 5G, unlocking the next generation of connected experiences for more people.”

He goes on to add, “Consumers will be able to enjoy applications like highly responsive multiplayer gaming, immersive 360-degree video, and always-connected cloud computing—all with superior power efficiency for all-day battery life.”

Although the X60 chip is noteworthy, its announcement has left something to be desired. Unfortunately, the circumstances were out of Qualcomm’s control.

The chipmaker originally planned to unveil the X60 at Mobile World Congress 2020 in Barcelona later this week. However, the event was canceled due to fears surrounding the recent Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Regardless of how it was announced, Qualcomm’s X60 chip will soon be helping users attain faster average speeds on the newest 5G networks.


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