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What’s next in Qualcomm’s 5G smartphones world

Qualcomm’s annual 5G Summit is taking place in San Diego this year, and the company has a few major announcements to make about its technology for future 5G products. These developments coincide with the widespread use of 5G connectivity and smartphones in many regions of the world.

Smart Transmit 3.0 is maybe the most notable reveal. Qualcomm’s 5G speed and coverage optimization technology has reached its third generation. The significant change in this version is that Smart Transmit now includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for the first time, allowing you to optimize your phone’s whole radio stack. Smart Transmit 3.0, according to Qualcomm, supports Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, and Wi-Fi 7.

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We asked Qualcomm about specific performance and efficiency gains for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when using Smart Transmit 3.0, but the company didn’t divulge any figures. It’s also worth noting that future Wi-Fi and Bluetooth versions will likely offer a bigger improvement, but even a small improvement to current standards would be welcomed.

You can expect to find this tech in the previously revealed Snapdragon X70 5G modem, which is due to arrive in phones by “late 2022,” according to Qualcomm.

Standalone mmWave for X70

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Qualcomm also stated at the 5G Summit that the X70 modem will handle independent mmWave connections, showcasing a connection. The feat was accomplished with a test device powered by the forthcoming modem.

The majority of 5G networks are non-standalone, which means they still rely on 4G technology for some functions. Separate 5G uses only 5G radio and backend technology, resulting in more flexible networks and services. This announcement also demonstrates that 5G backend technology can work in locations where there is no sub-6GHz connection.

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It’s worth noting that Qualcomm previously announced a standalone mmWave 5G data connection milestone in July 2021. The firm told us that the previous milestone was related to 200MHz support, which is a requirement for the Chinese market.

What to expect from the Snapdragon X70 modem?

The X70 is the first 5G modem featuring an AI processor, and Qualcomm has unveiled a few more advantages of this silicon ahead of its launch.

In particular, the company claims that mmWave coverage will be increased by 20% in “dense metropolitan situations.” Mobility-based sub-6GHz 5G at the edge of coverage might see a throughput jump of up to 73 percent, while pedestrians at the edge of coverage could see a 28 percent rise. However, it’s likely that consumers will only realize these increases under perfect circumstances.

Qualcomm previously noted it uses this AI suite for 5G channel optimization, smart network selection, mmWave beam management, and antenna tuning. This should theoretically result in performance and efficiency gains, but we’ll wait for the first X70-toting devices to see if this is indeed the case.

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