Snapdragon X70 5G modem packs an AI processor to improve signal strength and power efficiency

Shawn Knight

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In a nutshell: Qualcomm has introduced the world’s first 5G cellular modem with an integrated artificial intelligence processor. The AI suite in the new Snapdragon X70 5G modem-RF system will assist with a number of tasks including adaptive antenna tuning, network selection, mmWave beam management and channel-state feedback. Collectively, Qualcomm said the usage of AI will enhance speeds, coverage, link robustness, latency and power efficiency.

The Snapdragon X70 is also billed as the only modem capable of supporting every commercial 5G band, from 600 MHz to 41 GHz, for universal compatibility across operators’ networks. Furthermore, it’s the first to offer 4x downlink carrier aggregation across TDD and FDD.

It’s no slouch in the speed department, either, as the chip is capable of theoretical download speeds of up to 10 Gbps to offer “fiber-like browsing speeds and latency.” Of course, one should tame expectations as real-world performance will fall short of this number, especially now during the early days of 5G.

Still, the AI enhancements seem promising. Nitin Dhiman, director of product marketing at Qualcomm, said the AI suite enabled 28 percent better coverage when testing on a 39 GHz mmWave system in San Francisco.

Qualcomm is expected to begin sampling the Snapdragon X70 to customers in the second half of 2022, with the first mobile-equipped devices slated to launch by the end of the year. Flagships from big players like Samsung and Apple might not adopt the chip right away, but others will likely have fewer reservations.

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