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Qualcomm promises first chipset with integrated 5G coming in 2020

The company didn't say as much, but it will likely be the follow-up to this year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 855.

Published onFebruary 25, 2019

Qualcomm at CES 2019.

At Mobile World Congress 2019, Qualcomm made a few announcements pertaining to its future products when it comes to mobile chipsets and modems. One of those announcements revolves around a future chipset with an integrated 5G modem.

Right now, virtually every 5G-enabled smartphone we see has a chipset — probably Qualcomm’s own Snapdragon 855 — and a separate 5G modem (also likely made by Qualcomm). Since the two components are separate, battery life tends to suffer as two different parts taxes the battery more heavily than just one.

That’s why Qualcomm announcing an integrated chipset is a pretty big deal, as it will mean more battery-efficient smartphones with 5G connectivity.

Qualcomm wants your next phone and 5G to power "XR Viewers"
image of nReal Light glasses, aka XR Viewers

Qualcomm didn’t say what the chipset will be called, but it did give us a pretty big hint: the company said the device will launch to consumers in the first half of 2020. It’s nearly a sure bet then that this integrated chipset will be the follow-up to this year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset — possibly the Snapdragon 865 if the company sticks with its current naming conventions.

If that is, in fact, the case, we can expect this chipset to be in many of the 2020 flagship smartphones starting with the follow-up to this year’s Samsung Galaxy S10.

With an integrated mobile chipset, 5G connectivity will be more easily adopted as it won’t require a specialized modem. Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said this at the conference: “It’s a fully integrated MSM [mobile station modem] with 5G which is designed to accelerate global adoption of 5G, going beyond flagship smartphones to lower scale 5G smartphones for all geographies.”

We can expect to hear more about this upcoming chipset towards the end of this year as the company starts demoing the product for smartphone OEMs.

NEXT: Qualcomm 5G PowerSave promises 4G battery life on 5G phones