Today at the 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong, Qualcomm had a couple of interesting announcements to make. First of all it unveiled the Snapdragon 636 SoC which “delivers significant increases in performance, gaming and display technology,” compared to its predecessor (Snapdragon 630). Secondly, and fitting in nicely with the event, Qualcomm demonstrated the world’s first mobile chipset for 5G data connections, plus a 5G smartphone reference design.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 – 40 per cent faster
This new mid-market processor features the octa-core Qualcomm Kryo 260 CPU running at up to 1.8GHz, “which delivers a 40 per cent increase in device performance over the Snapdragon 630”. That’s an impressive uplift but it goes further; the integrated Qualcomm Adreno 509 GPU can boost gaming and browsing performance by 10 per cent, and the new SoC supports ultra-wide FHD+ displays and Assertive Display technologies.
Other niceties of the Snapdragon 636 include the tried and tested Snapdragon X12 LTE modem with speed of up to 600Mbps and LTE dual-SIM support, the 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra 160 ISP which supports capture of up to 24 megapixels with zero shutter lag, the Qualcomm Hexagon 680 DSP, and the Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec supports Hi-Fi audio on the go, with up to 192kHz/24bit support.
The Snapdragon 636 is built on the 14nm FinFET process and is pin and software compatible with Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile Platforms. This helps product designers achieve a smooth transition to the enhanced functionality and performance. Expect the first Snapdragon 636 products to emerge from next month onwards.
Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem family
Qualcomm demonstrated a 5G data connection on a 5G modem chipset for mobile devices. It used the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset to deliver gigabit speeds and a data connection in the 28GHz mmWave radio frequency band. Described as a “major milestone” for the industry, the demonstration hardware “achieved gigabit download speeds, using several 100 MHz 5G carriers”. Further trials, in partnership with major global network operators and infrastructure vendors, are planned.
Also today, to aid in the development of 5G mobiles Qualcomm unveiled the first 5G smartphone reference design. It is expected that we will witness the arrival of the first commercial 5G smartphones and networks in the first half of 2019.