Qualcomm released its first practical 5G RF module earlier this year in the form of the QTM052, but the company apparently wasn't done shrinking those modules to sizes usable in today's razor-thin smartphone designs. The company has added a smaller version of the QTM052 to its family of RF modules, and the further-shrunken version cuts the size of the original module by 25%. Qualcomm says the size reduction of the latest QTM052 module gives handset OEMs more options for antenna placement, and by extension, more flexibility as they develop the first 5G handsets for release in the next couple of years.
Old module on left, new on right
Like their predecessors, the further-miniaturized QTM052 modules work with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem to provide connectivity, and the company expects phone makers to integrate as many as four of these modules in handsets. The modules themselves include a 5G NR transceiver, a power-management IC, RF front-end components, and a phased antenna array. They support as much as 800 MHz of bandwidth in the 26.5-to-29.5-GHz, 27.5-to-28.35-GHz, and 37-to-40-GHz bands.
Companies interested in building 5G handsets likely already have Qualcomm on speed dial, but for those who don't, the company says it's already sampling the smaller modules to customers and expects them to launch in 5G NR phones early next year.