Qualcomm Announces 2Gbps LTE Modem
Michael Alba posted on February 16, 2018 |
(Image courtesy of Qualcomm.)
(Image courtesy of Qualcomm.)

Qualcomm Technologies announced what it claims to be the world’s first 2Gbps LTE modem and first 7nm chipset: the Qualcomm Snapdragon X24. The modem will be demonstrated live at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, to be held Feb. 26-March 1.

The Snapdragon X24 is Qualcomm’s eighth generation LTE modem. At 2Gbps, it delivers twice the speed of the company’s original gigabit LTE modem, the Snapdragon X16. But the improvements don’t end there. The X24 supports up to 7x carrier aggregation in the downlink, compared to 4 in the X16, and 4X4 MIMO on up to five aggregated LTE carriers, compared to two carriers for the X16. It also offers up to 20 concurrent LTE spatial streams, compared to 10 for the X16.

Though the Snapdragon X24 packs some impressive specs, it may face some challenges, according to David McQueen, research director at ABI Research.

“With no X24 deals yet announced with the OEMs, it will be interesting to see how quickly handsets will become available in markets that carry the technology,” he said. “Any incremental costs associated with X24 smartphone integration cannot be seen to be prohibitive either, as it is not long before they will meet the challenge of 5G products coming to market. If the market is to truly embrace the X24, then major smartphone vendors will need to be onboard quickly. While failure to do so will leave some OEMs trailing the market, this could create a marked slowdown in the smartphone replacement cycle as users endure a lengthy delay for model upgrades with X24, or else they hold-fire altogether and await the advent of 5G.”

The official 5G standard has yet to be finalized—although it’s well on its way—but many companies are putting forth early 5G products, and Qualcomm is no exception. The company offers what it boasts as the world’s first 5G modem, the Snapdragon X50, which supports operation in the 28GHz band. If 2Gbps is impressive for the X24, the X50 blows it out of the water with up to 5Gbps download speeds.

All-in-all, while the X24 is a welcome addition to the Snapdragon lineup of LTE modems, it’s hard to get too excited when 5G is just around the corner.

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