The X24 is Qualcomm's third-generation Gigabit LTE modem and will offer a 2x speed boost over its first-generation chip, the company says, enabling devices to better support intensive mobile functionality, including 360-degree video, "instant apps", and richer entertainment. With this, Qualcomm also revealed a list of 18 OEMs who will be using the x50 modem and 5G technology in their upcoming hardware.
The X24 does this through 7x carrier aggregation, bonding seven different 20MHz slices of radio spectrum and enabling 20 data streams at once. This unprecedented feature set is created to allow devices that feature the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem to utilize all spectrum assets available from a mobile operator, whether in licensed spectrum, or with License Assisted Access (LAA).
Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT, Qualcomm Wireless GmbH, said the Snapdragon X24 packs a powerful array of the most advanced 4G LTE technologies commercially available which will help mobile operators fully mobilize their spectrum assets and maximize the capacity of their networks.
So, how does this new, bonkers-fast LTE modem fit in with Qualcomm's strategy to launch its X50 5G modem next year?
The Snapdragon X24 is the first product of its type built on a 7-nm FinFET manufacturing process, which means all that speed could arrive in a smaller package than the X20. X24-based phones that also have 5G modems will, ideally, smoothly ramp up and down between fast LTE and early 5G networks without experiencing the sort of "speed cliff" you feel when you drop from 4G LTE to EDGE, for instance.
The company last week said the 18 carriers will soon start to field-test its Snapdragon X50 modem, and it's working hard to corner the OEM business as well, with Asus, two Fujitsu units, HMD Global (Nokia licensee for phones), HTC, Inseego/Novatel Wireless, LG, NetCommWireless, NETGEAR, OPPO, SharpCorporation, Sierra Wireless, SonyMobile, Telit, vivo, Wingtech, WNC, Xiaomi and ZTE singed on to use the modem.
The chipset giant has already started sampling the modem, with devices expected to hit the market by the end of 2018. "We're excited to demonstrate these advancements at Mobile World Congress and showcase how our technologies are created to expand the reach of 5G NR to new industries, new deployment and business models, and new ecosystem participants". In the uplink, Snapdragon X24 supports Category 20 upload speeds, 3x20 MHz CA and up to 256-QAM.
Moreover, Qualcomm also detailed the use of the 5G technology in areas like mobile broadband to smartphones, Always Connected PCs, head-mounted displays for virtual reality, augmented reality and extended reality. Operators will also be able to use their spectrum more efficiently while delivering high speeds to consumers.