Qualcomm Announces 5nm, 7.5Gbps Snapdragon X60 Third-Gen 5G Modem-RF System

Qualcomm Snapdragon X60
Part of the migration into 5G territory involves upgraded hardware on the consumer side, and to date, there is a spattering of devices equipped with first generation and second generation 5G modems. That is not where the road ends, however. Taking the next step in the ongoing 5G revolution, Qualcomm announced a 5G modem-to-antenna solution called Snapdragon X60.

This is not something consumers will buy directly, but a high-tech solution that will find its way into upcoming smartphones. The Snapdragon X60 is the first 5-nanometer based 5G modem-RF system, and also the first to aggregate mmWave and sub-6 spectrum using frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD).

The general takeaway behind the technobabble is Qualcomm developed a solution that supports every available 5G network currently deployed. It also opens to door to better performance, and introduces Voice-over-NR (VoNR) capabilities.

According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon X60 can hit a peak 5G download speed of 7.5 gigabits per second (Gbps), and a peak 5G upload speed of 3Gbps. Those are the same speeds as Qualcomm's previous Snapdragon X55 solution, which the company introduced around this time last year. So, what's the big deal?

The Snapdragon X60 is a more flexible solution with better carrier aggregation. Support for sub-6Ghz and mmWave aggregation paves the way for data to be sent over a broader range of spectrum. Devices equipped with the Snapdragon X60 can also receive data across FDD and TDD network bands at the same time.

"Qualcomm Technologies is at the heart of 5G launches globally with mobile operators and OEMs introducing 5G services and mobile devices at record pace. As 5G standalone networks are introduced in 2020, our third-generation 5G modem-RF platform brings extensive spectrum aggregation capabilities and options to fuel the rapid expansion of 5G roll outs while enhancing coverage, power efficiency, and performance for mobile devices. We are excited about the fast adoption of 5G across geographies and the positive impact 5G is having on the user experience," said Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated.

For end users, this is another step towards fiber-like speeds and low latency on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, and so forth). Of course, this requires 5G network access as well. On the consumer hardware side of things, Qualcomm says it will ship samples of the Snapdragon X60 in the first quarter of this year, with premium smartphones featuring the modem expected to arrive in early 2021.