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Qualcomm Set to Offer Both a 4G and a 5G Snapdragon 865

By Bill Toulas / May 6, 2019

Qualcomm’s next flagship chipset is going to be offered in two variants, one with a 4G LTE modem, and one with the X55 5G chip. This means that we’re going to have smartphones sporting the same processing unit, but being fundamentally different in terms of how they connect to the internet. To bring things into perspective, this year’s flagship, the 855, does technically support 5G but only when paired with the X50 5G modem. The modem is not integrated into the Snapdragon, as that place is still occupied by the 4G LTE X24.

With the arrival of the Snapdragon 865, Qualcomm wants to offer smartphone manufacturers the choice of having the 4G modem integrated into the chip, thus saving space for giving an edge to other components like the battery for example, or having it externally and support 5G but also cramming everything in the tight space. Previously, we were made to believe that the 865 will bring an integrated 5G modem, but it seems that this scenario is fading away.

According to the chip maker, the new platform which is internally codenamed as “Kora”, will bring support to the second-generation of the sub-6 GHz antenna modules, and will also feature the “5G PowerSave” technology that will help save battery juice while roaming the lanes of super-fast internet. Other notable revelations that concern the Snapdragon 865 is the support of the HDR10+ standard, the LPDDR5 RAM which is significantly more low-power than its predecessor while also increasing the nominal data transfer rates as well, to 6.4 Gbit/s/pin. This low-energy consumption that comes with the LPDDR5 is going to be a very serious matter in the dawn of the age of 5G.

lpddr5

image source: chipestimate.com

Right now, the added volume and complexity of the 5G components that lead to manufacturers having to be pushed to using smaller batteries introduce new problems. An ArsTechnica post from a couple of months back is based on this very fact of the new design challenges to discourage people from being among the first to endorse and support (by buying) the first 5G models. Still, we’re well on our way towards this new age, and Qualcomm may have lost their 4G advantage where they could integrate modems into the main chip and call it a day, but we just can’t go around the process of technological maturity. It comes through bulky and unpractical implementations that slowly get optimized, gradually better, and finally smaller.

Would you buy a 5G-ready 865 or would you prefer a trusty 4G chip that would allow for more elegant designs and bigger batteries? Let us know in the comments down below, and also on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.



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