Qualcomm Announces the Snapdragon X20 Modem
When most people talk about Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs, they’re almost always focusing on the company’s CPUs and GPUs that are put into the chips.
What a lot of people don’t think about is all of the extra components that actually make it a system-on-a-chip. This includes a modem, a DPS, display controllers, security layers, optical fingerprint technology and more. Hence, many people only discuss the components that contribute to the raw performance of their device, but fail to realize that the SoC is far more than just its CPU and GPU.
One of the areas where Qualcomm excels is in their modems. Not only do they provide incredible speed, but they also tend to use less battery than competitor solutions do. Just last October we saw Qualcomm announce the X16 and X50 modems, so be sure to check that article out in case you missed it. The Snapdragon X16 modem is what the upcoming Snapdragon 835 SoC will be using, and it will provide Gigabit LTE speeds to people for the first time in their lives.
But while the S835 has yet to be launched in any commercially available devices, Qualcomm has already announced the next iteration of their modem with the Snapdragon X20. This is the first product announced that will support Category 18 download speeds, which go up to 1.2 Gbps. It’s fair to say this type of speed will eat through most people’s monthly allotment of data, but at least we will have the capability to do so in future devices.
An increase in bandwidth speeds isn’t the only thing the Snapdragon X20 brings to the tablet though. Qualcomm is advertising that the Snapdragon X20 modem now supports more combinations of LTE carriers, 4×4 MIMO configurations, and a higher number of total LTE spatial streams. This enables the modem to provide expanded flexibility for more cellular networks around the world who choose to deploy Gigabit LTE. The new modem also supports License Assisted Access (LAA) technology, which is what Qualcomm and others have been hoping to get deployed since it enables faster speeds.
We don’t know which products will be the first to market with this new modem, but Qualcomm says they’re expecting it to be available in the first half of 2018.