Qualcomm announces first 5G smartphone, coming in 2019

Qualcomm announced that it successfully made a 5G connection via its Snapdragon X50 modem on the first reference design smartphone. The company also introduced it’s Snapdragon 636. Both announcements were made at the firm’s own 4G/5G summit which took place on October 16-18 in Hong Kong.


It has been the subject of much conversation but 5G finally exists, with Qualcomm managing the first trial that actually succeeded. Qualcomm expects devices using a Snapdragon X50 to be in shops by mid-2019. That’s earlier than the 2020 prediction made by Ofcom.

The news means that we’re that much closer to using 5G. Qualcomm likened the success to discovering electricity and hailed it is a stepping stone towards unlimited data. 5G won’t only be faster; it will be extra reliable so that demanding tasks can be met with not just a smartphone, but other devices, without any issues.

That speed will benefit a range of users, especially those who frequent graphics-heavy web pages and applications. Gamers, for example, who enjoy playing on their smartphone, would be able to say goodbye to their frustration over slow download speeds. That is also the case online, where graphics-intensive software used in online games and casinos will be that much faster.

While all the graphics are perfectly fine for today’s smartphone, many of the mobile gaming sites listed on the Oddschecker website, such as Mr Green’s, will be able to offer a faster, heightened experience in 5G for each of their games.

The above includes modern innovations like live streaming technology, which Mr Green currently employs in some of its blackjack and roulette games, among others. The website is currently pushing its new experiences with a 100% casino bonus for new players. Qualcomm further revealed its very first reference design smartphone to utilise mmWave 5G. The phone is a great example of how the technology will be made possible in the form factor. The modem is small but, then, fitting an antenna array for 5G isn’t an easy task.

Qualcomm Technologies president, Christiano Amon, said that their milestone and 5G smartphone and reference design illustrates how they’re driving 5G NR in mobile devices to create an improved experience for users around the globe. The demonstration of its 5G connection to a smartphone, conducted in its labs in San Diego, was released on video at the event. It will improve the company’s position against such rivals as Huawei and Intel in the next generation contest for the king of mobile broadband.

The test saw the Snapdragon X50 NW modem chipset achieve speeds of 1 gigabit per second. That’s several times the speed of the 4G LTS wireless networks used by smartphones currently on the market. Analysts have predicted that the take-up of 5G by handset makers and mobile operators will be faster than it was for 4G. Slough-based researchers CCS Insight estimates sales of 300 million 5G smartphones

by the year 2021, approximately 15% of total worldwide shipments.

CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber said that the announcement is a major step towards commercial and 5G devices in the year 2019 and backs up predictions that Qualcomm’s 4G strength will be carried over into the next generation. He added, however, that as 5G is still very much in its infancy, firm conclusions are difficult to make at this stage, with regards to which firms will be regarded as the winners and losers.

Qualcomm is the largest standalone vendor of smartphone modems in the industry. However, it is facing an increasing amount of competition when it comes to mobile processors from in-house chip units at Huawei, Samsung, and Apple. Intel is also increasing its 5G investment.

Blaber said that Intel will benefit from the large increase in connected devices, along with the data that they create, which 5G will likely trigger.

He added that, while the industry seemingly enjoys focusing on the competition between Qualcomm and Intel, there is a different reality. He pointed out the fact that while Intel faces an uphill battle in taking on Qualcomm in modern technology, its core strength is in the data centre, as 5G becomes a computational challenge every bit as much as it is a challenge of connectivity.

A slowing down in the smartphone market makes the the move to 5G an important one for both Qualcomm and its competitors. CCS has predicted that shipments of smartphones will increase by 4.4% to 1.5 billion this year and reach 1.9 billion by 2021. Those numbers equate to a compound annual growth rate of 5.5% between 2016 and 2021.