The third annual Qualcomm Tech Summit has just started, and the first announcements from Day One have been made. To start this event, Qualcomm President Cristano Amon is sharing the company's vision for 2019, primarily around 5G networks and 5G enabled devices. The Tech Summit has a few surprises in store over the next couple of days, including the upcoming announcement of the company's first 5G mobile platform, Snapdragon 855.
[...] The 855-MP consists of two chips, the Snapdragon 855 chipset paired with the X50 modem capable of 5G connections. Qualcomm states that this will be the first mobile platform to support multi-gigabit 5G, along with all the potential that 5G entails.
Also disclosed were some of the chipset targets: the S855, according to Qualcomm, will have industry leading AI inside the chip as well as hardware to accelerate 'extended reality', such as virtual reality and augmented reality. Inside the S855 is Qualcomm's 5th generation multi-core AI-engine, which Qualcomm states will offer up to 3 times the AI performance of the S845 model. Also quoted was that the new S855 includes a separate Computer Vision (CV) image signaling processor, which the company states is an industry first, and will help to enhance computational photography and video capture features. Qualcomm also mentioned gaming, promising next-level gaming experiences to the next generation of premium flagship devices.
From the pictures, it seems obvious that the Snapdragon 855 chipset by itself supports 4G wireless connectivity, and 5G is enabled through the use of the X50 modem as a separate addition. This will add PCB space in mobile devices that previously only used internal modems, reducing volume for other components (such as battery). One would suspect that OEMs intend to offer 5G on only premium devices to begin with, which are often on the larger side of the mobile ecosystem to begin with.
Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem [qualcomm.com].
Also at The Verge [theverge.com].
See also: Moto 5G Mod at Snapdragon Summit: Lots of Antennas, and S855 Inside? [anandtech.com]
Related: Intel Speeds Up Rollout of 5G Modems [soylentnews.org]