CHIPMAKER Qualcomm has kicked off this year's pre-MWC launches with the unveiling of the Snapdrapdragon X20, an LTE modem capable of download speeds up to 1.2Gbps.
The Snapdragon X20 is the successor to last year's X16, which arrived as the firm's first-generation Gigabit LTE modem.
Improving on its predecessor, the X20 supports speeds of up to 1.2Gbps, a 20 per cent improvement compared to the 1Gbps-capable X16, which Qualcomm claims will help OEMs to deliver experiences such as 360-degree video and virtual reality (VR), connected cloud computing and instant apps.
The X20 is also built on the 10nm manufacturing processor compared to 14nm, much like the soon-to-be-available Snapdragon 835 mobile SoC.
Speaking to the INQUIRER ahead of the X20's launch, Qualcomm said that while this headline 1.2Gbps figure is impressive, the most important thing about the chip is that it brings more flexibility with regards to spectrum, allowing more operators to offer these speeds and driving the global adoption of Gigabit LTE.
Ben Timmons, senior director at Qualcomm said: "While the 1.2Gbps speed capability is important, it's probably more important that it brings additional flexibility. Most of the mobile operators have diverse spectrum, and it varies from country to country.
"The X20 critically brings an extra level of flexibility that will allow an extra set of operators to get up to a Gigabit or beyond."
While the X16 supported 4x4 MIMO on two carriers, the X20 ups this number to three, and also allows support for up to 5x20 MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation (CA) across licensed and unlicensed FDD and TDD radio frequencies.
The Snapdragon X20 is also the first LTE modem to deliver support for dual-VoLTE on dual-SIM devices.
"This is a first. Dual-SIM phones are regular, normal devices, and the X20 is going to introduce the ability to have dual-VoLTE for the first time," Timmons noted. "At the moment, any dual-SIM phone will support 4G on one SIM, but certainly not on both."
The Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 modem is being tested by customers and likely will show up in devices in the first half of 2018.
The chip is also "part of the track that takes us to 5G," Qualcomm notes, with the firm also on Tuesday announcing its first successful 5G connection based upon the New Radio (NR) work in 3GPP, which is expected to become the global 5G standard. µ
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