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Qualcomm will help make the Samsung Galaxy S11 5G slimmer and more durable

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Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

5G is just getting started, but Qualcomm is already talking about its third chip for the superfast network. And it is a chip that Samsung plans to use in its future devices from the Galaxy S line.

Qualcomm unveiled on Monday, February 25, its first processor that integrates 5G modem technology with the Snapdragon application processor that serves as the brain of a device. Qualcomm's first two 5G chips were standalone modems that work alongside a main computational processor.

Integrating a 5G modem with the application processor brings great benefits to phone users. It reduces the power consumption and the amount of space that the chips occupy in a device, allowing the phones to be even slimmer and to have bigger batteries. Having an integrated chip also allows manufacturers to develop cell phones for any 5G network in the world. And, thus, 5G phones would become cheaper for consumers.

"The integration of our revolutionary multimodal 5G modem and application processing technologies into a single SoC is a major step in making 5G more accessible across regions," said Cristiano Amon, the president of Qualcomm, in a statement from press.

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The integrated chip, whose name Qualcomm has not disclosed, will be the successor to the Snapdragon 855. The processor is powering most of the Android phones this year, including the Galaxy S10, the Galaxy Fold, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G and the LG V50 ThinQ. The Snapdragon 855 comes integrated with Qualcomm's X24 modem that is capable of 4G LTE multi-gigabyte download speeds. Obtaining 5G on-device requires Qualcomm's separate 5G modem.

The integrated processor will be distributed to consumers as a sample in the second quarter and will become commercial products in the first half of 2020, Qualcomm said. Based on this timeline, it is possible that the successor to the Galaxy S10 (the Galaxy S11?) Uses this chip.

5G promises to significantly increase speed, coverage and response of wireless networks. It can be 10 to 100 times faster than your current cellular connection, and faster than you can get with a fiber optic cable. Also increase the speed at which a device connects to the network with speeds as fast as a millisecond to start a download or upload of content.

And the world's largest phone fair has seen ad after ad from companies working on 5G, and Qualcomm has been a part of most of these ads.

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The 5G emergency

Qualcomm introduced its first 5G chip, the X50, two years ago. And it's so far that chip is being integrated into mobile devices as phone operators are powering up their 5G networks over the next year. The X50 is capable of download speeds of up to 5 Gbps, and more than 20 companies are working on more than 30 X50 phones for this year, Qualcomm said.

Last week Qualcomm announced its second 5G chip, the X55. The modem can run in 2G, 3G, and 4G alongside the 5G superfast network. It will also allow phone manufacturers to create unlocked 5G phones. You can download data on 5G networks up to 7 Gbps.

For now, Qualcomm is the only chipmaker with an available 5G modem, apart from Huawei. But Huawei uses its chips only on its devices, like the Mate X that he presented on Sunday. The flip phone has three displays, including an 8-inch interior panel and four rear cameras. It costs about $ 2,600. It uses the Balong 5000 modem together with the Kirin 980 processor.

Samsung, the world's highest-selling cell phone company, unveiled its first 5G phone last week, and Oppo bragged about its 5G phone that has no name yet. On Sunday, Xiaomi said that the 5G version of its Mi Mix 3 will hit the market in May for about $ 679, and other companies are expected to unveil more 5G devices at MWC.

The first 5G devices will use the Snapdragon 855 chip alongside the X50 modem. Devices hitting the market later this year or in early 2020 will use X55.

Although 5G technology could bring great advantages to consumers, it has faced some obstacles such as energy consumption.

To counter this, Qualcomm's upcoming integrated chips, as well as the X50 and X55, will have the company's 5G PowerSave technology to help save battery power.

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Fast wireless charging

Qualcomm made other announcements on Monday. The company said its Quick Charge technology will reach Qi wireless chargers. Quick Charge Refill Pads will work with Quick Charge 2.0, 3.0, 4 and 4+ adapters already in use by millions of people.

Xiaomi is the first company to create a recharging pad with Quick Charge compatibility: Mi Wireless Charging Pad.

5G on computers

5G is not just for phones. Qualcomm also expects it to appear on computers, and it already has a chip ready to connect to computers by the end of 2019.

The company has paired the X55 with its 8cx processor for computers.

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On Monday, Lenovo said it will be "the first" to have a 5G computer on the market by early 2020.

Robot chips

Qualcomm unveiled its first robot chip system on Monday: Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform. It combines hardware, software, and tools to help manufacturers and developers build robots. The first version is 4G LTE, but it will be updated later this year to include 5G.

Robots that already use Qualcomm technology include Sony's Aibo puppy and iRobot and Panasonic vacuum cleaners.

5G and Wi-Fi 6 in cars

Qualcomm introduced an automotive Wi-Fi 6 chip, the QCA6696, to bring Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to cars. The chip supports Gigabit hotspots in cars and allows passengers to make streaming HD video on multiple screens.

Qualcomm also introduced its Snapdragon Automotive 4G and Snapdragon Automotive 5G Platforms. Both include technology for things like dual SIM, multi-gigabit cloud connectivity, and other features needed for autonomous cars.

Automotive manufacturers will be able to test these platforms later this year, and this technology could appear in vehicles from 2021.


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