Qualcomm yesterday has announced a slew of new 5G communication platforms, representing their next-generation modems, and RF front-end solutions that will be powering the next flagship devices later in 2021 as well as 2022. This includes two new 5G modems in the form of the new Snapdragon X65 and X62, a new RFFE portfolio with new envelope trackers, new antenna tuners, and new power amplifiers, alongside a 4th generation mmWave antenna module that supports more frequency bands and a larger frequency bandwidth.

Starting off with the new X65 modem, it’s a rather large generational upgrade compared to the current X60 modem that increases the amount of frequency bands as well as bandwidth that a vendor can deploy in an end user device.

In terms of sub-6GHz frequencies, the new X65 modem increases the bandwidth from 200MHz to 300MHz, essentially a 50% increase in aggregate spectrum that can be used. Such a wide breadth of spectrum is currently extremely rate in terms of 5G network deployments, but as the US is freeing up new mid-band frequencies for 5G usage over the next years, as well as other global markets deprecate 3G frequencies and reallocate them into 5G usage, we’ll be seeing more possible carrier aggregation combinations across larger variety of frequency bands.

On the mmWave side, things have also seen improvements as the available bandwidth goes from 800MHz to 1000MHz, and now adopts support for the TDD 41GHz n259 band, important for mmWave deployments in countries such as China and Japan.

The new modem, when aggregating across sub-6GHz and mmWave networks with the new increased bandwidth capabilities thus advertises maximum download speeds of up to 10Gbps. Of course, such peak figures aren’t too realistic in the real world, but they do showcase the vast increase in spectrum bandwidth available, which will translate to better transmission speeds in crowded situations.

Alongside the super-high-end X65 modem, we’re also seeing the release of the X62, which is essentially its little brother. In terms of frequency bands and standards capabilities, it’s of the same calibre as the X65, however it differs in terms of its spectrum bandwidth capabilities; sub-6GHz is reduced to 120MHz, and mmWave is reduced to 300MHz across 4 carriers, rather than 10. Undoubtedly this modem solution will be targeting devices at lower price points than the X65 flagship.

Interestingly, both new X65 and X62 modems are manufactured on a 4nm node – this should be Samsung’s 4LPE node which is a further iterative improvement of their current 5LPE technology.

The new 5G modem solutions and their RFFE companion chips are set to hit the market in late 2021.

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  • michael2k - Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - link

    More people use mobile than PC.

    Also, adding 5G support to a PC seems strange when PCs don’t move nearly as much. The closest compromise would be 5G on an iPad Pro, which largely uses the same architecture as the MacBooks.
  • Silver5urfer - Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - link

    I never said PC numbers is high. Only mentioning how Smartphone is getting all this but it's all wasted soon due to the market and the corporations priorities. Esp the impact of Social Media. Android has already surpassed Windows in global OS marketshare in OCT 2020.
  • michael2k - Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - link

    But it's not wasted on smartphones. It only makes sense on smartphones.

    WiFi 6 is the solution on the PC side, and hits speeds of 9.6Gbps, while 5G is 250Mbps on the low bands, 900Mbps on the mid band, and high band can hit Gbps but a range under a couple hundred meters.

    Realistically then a WiFi6 laptop will be 10x faster than the average 5G smartphone.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - link

    5G has potential in areas with crowded reception, like football stadiums and such. That is, if we ever use them again.

    And with the push for bigger batteries devices are lasting longer. My moto z was 4.5 years old until an unfortunate fall destroyed the radio, and the battery was still quite usable, having gone from 10 hours to 8.5 hours of SoT on a single charge.
  • Silver5urfer - Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - link

    A flagship product like V60 or Samsung S21+ will not have 4.5 years of usage, not at all. I cannot speak for you but myself since even when I try to charge from 35% to 80% the battery loses its 1/3 capacity by 2 years, that too when I used no fast charging for the whole duration. The fast charging technology ruins the batteries at a faster rate, Andrei also mentioned this. Qi also ruins batteries faster. Sony did one great thing which is not to use battery power when plugged to a wall and doing intensive workloads.

    Even iPhone batteries are prone to that Li Ion problem which Apple got caught now putting the deterioration number right for user to allow them to pay for the service and get them replaced at an Apple store, Android market is worse in this aspect due to lack of similar servicing options.

    No matter what a smartphone ends up in a landfill sooner or later faster than a PC / Laptop.
  • michael2k - Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - link

    I mean, yeah, smartphones don't last as long. I just retired a 2012 MBP for a 2020 MBP (8 years) while my sister in law and wife are both using 2015/2016 iPhones 6S and 7 and looking to replace them this year after only 6/5 years in use.

    But that's a product of smartphone technology 6 years ago not being as advanced too.
  • Spunjji - Friday, February 12, 2021 - link

    Phones are also used almost entirely on their battery, whereas laptops tend to spend most of their life operating on AC power. 6 years is a pretty solid life for a mobile device - I do wish we'd get better at recycling them, but after that long there tends to be a lot more wrong with them than just being old (debris in ports, speaker damage, etc.)
  • Spunjji - Friday, February 12, 2021 - link

    Hard disagree on the battery life claims - my current device (OnePlus 6) still easily gets more than a day's normal usage out of the battery after 2.5 years

    Also, you whinge about iPhones all the time, but the people I know who keep smartphones the longest are all Apple users. I don't know many who will keep one for less than 3 years, and most people I know keep them for 6 or more - sometimes passed on to another user, but always kept going until they collapse.
  • lmcd - Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - link

    We just paid for a third party battery replacement on an iPhone 6S, which still performs admirably. No Android phone from the same era could claim likewise.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Sunday, February 21, 2021 - link

    I have a Galaxy S7 that's running just fine over here. January 2020 it was replaced with a Galaxy S10e, so my daughter uses the S7 now. It even received over 4 years of security updates. Yes, the battery was replaced twice, but the phone itself is still running fine. In March, that phone will pass it's 5th birthday.

    Also have an LG V20 that's still running fine. The other daughter uses that one. It has a removable battery, so it's much less expensive to replace. Had to replace the screen once, and it's all cracked up again, so will need another replacement ... not sure if it'll be worth it, though. It's also on it's 3rd battery. Unfortunately, updates for it ended long ago. Come March, it will pass it's 4th birthday.

    We also have a Galaxy A8 (2018) that's running fine on it's original battery. Still makes it through the day without needing a charge, although it's now down into single-digits by bedtime (instead of 20-30%). Will probably need a new battery this year. January marked it's 3rd birthday.

    IOW, phones last a log longer than you seem to think they do. I fully expect the S7 to last another year or two; the A8 to last another year or two; and (if we replace the screen) for the V20 to last another year or two. Getting 5 years of use out of a phone is easy to do, so long as the screen remains intact.

    The big issue with Android phones is security updates. Samsung is much better about them these days; LG is pretty much useless.

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