Qualcomm has unveiled its Snapdragon X35 5G Modem RF System. The company claims this is the world’s first 5G NR-Light modem-RF system and will fill the gap between high-speed mobile broadband devices and low-bandwidth NB-IoT devices. Accompanying this launch is the X32 5G Modem-RF system, a modem-to-antenna solution built for even lower complexity and battery-efficient NR-Light devices.
The NR-Light devices powered by the Snapdragon X35 and X32 will be smaller, more cost-efficient and have longer battery life as compared to traditional mobile broadband devices. Customer sampling for the two chips is expected to start in the first half of 2023. The first commercial mobile devices using the chips will arrive later in early 2024.
The X35 is essentially a 3GPP Release 17 RedCap modem with optimised RFIC and PMIC modules. This gives OEMs new 5G capabilities, such as improved thermal and power efficiency, while reducing the chip’s overall footprint at the same time.
The chip currently supports the following Qualcomm technologies:
- QET5100 Envelope Tracking
- Smart Transmit Technology
- 5G Ultra-Low Latency Suite
- 5G PowerSave Gen 4
Devices made with the Snapdragon X35 are expected to consume less power, enhance 5G coverage, experience lower latencies, increase battery life and improve uplink speeds.
The chip also supports dual-frequency GNSS (L1+L5) for accurate GPS to support industrial applications. Finally, since the chip has global RF band support, it supports all spectrum bands within Sub-6GHz, FDD and TDD meaning it’ll fit into multiple markets without a hassle.
The two chips should mean more wearable and small-form devices will see 5G connectivity in 2024. Devices like smartwatches, internet-connected security cameras, AR/VR headsets and even laptops will have more options to integrate 5G cellular connectivity onboard without giving up much in terms of performance or circuit board space.
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