Something to look forward to: 5G is the tech industry's big buzzword right now, but next year will likely be when it really takes off. Not only will more of the infrastructure be in place that allows users to connect to 5G networks, but 2020 will also see a new Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC that has an embedded 5G modem.
Everyone from Samsung to LG to Huawei is jumping on the 5G bandwagon, and most of these phones come with a Snapdragon 855. But this flagship SoC only has an integrated LTE modem, meaning the 5G capabilities are left up to a separate chip: the Snapdragon X50 modem.
Having two chips next to each other means 5G smartphones tend to be larger and bulkier than their standard counterparts, as shown in the LG V50 and Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G. But integrating the 5G modem into the SoC could reduce a device’s size and weight, while potentially making them cheaper to produce.
Qualcomm also notes that an integrated 5G modem means these handsets will have the same battery life as current LTE phones. Using a separate modem chip requires a larger battery—otherwise, the battery life takes a hit.
"The integration of our breakthrough 5G multimode modem and application processing technologies into a single SoC is a major step in making 5G more widely available across regions and tiers following the wave of flagship 5G devices from the more than 20 OEMs and 20 mobile operators who have committed to launching 5G networks and mobile handsets based on our 5G modems this year," said Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon.
As is usually the case with the latest Qualcomm chips, it looks as if Samsung will be the first company to put a 5G-capable Snapdragon SoC into its phones, likely starting with next year’s Galaxy S11.