Qualcomm announces the X50 5G modem

Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon X50, which the company claims is the industry's first commercially-available 5G modem. The package is targeted at handset manufacturers and mobile bandwidth network operators, who can all use the X50 for testing as they roll out their next-generation mobile broadband networks.

The Snapdragon X50 modem operates in 5G's 28 GHz band in the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, and supports beamforming and beam-tracking MIMO antenna technology. Qualcomm says the X50's maximum theoretical download speed can hit 5 Gbps. The X50 only offers 5G connectivity and doesn't use the 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands, though. Handset makers are encouraged to pair the X50 with a Snapdragon SoC including its own integrated 4G modem for compatibility with existing mobile data networks.

The X50 solution includes the modem, mmWave transceivers, and a power management chip. Qualcomm expects to sample chips to OEMs in the second half of 2017, with handsets hitting shelves in the first half of 2018.

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