Qualcomm launches a 5G chipset for affordable smartphones

Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 5G reference phone press picture courtesy of QualcommArticles

Qualcomm brings 5G to cheaper phones with Snapdragon 690 processor | CNet

Snapdragon 690 announced: 5G comes to Qualcomm’s mainstream chip family | Android Authority

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 690 chipset brings 5G to cheaper phones | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Qualcomm

Qualcomm Announces First 5G Snapdragon 6-Series Mobile Platform (Press Release)

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5G mobile broadband technology will be coming to an affordable smartphone near you thanks to a new chipset that Qualcomm has now launched.

This chipset, known as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 chipset doesn’t just have a 5G modem for this class of product but also has processing power to handle some high-end tasks like 192 megapixel high-resolution photography or 4G HDR videography. There will also be support for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.1 technology along with support for improved artificial-intelligence / machine-learning. It is although Qualcomm haven’t built mmWave support in to the 5G mobile broadband modem.

The silicon is being rolled out at the moment and will have a low bill-of-materials price compared to premium or midrange chipsets that Qualcomm offers. This will mean that a finished Android smartphone product would be expected to retail between USD$300-USD$500 before any telco subsidies. This is compared to the Apple iPhone SE which is a4G only product going for USD$400.

Phones based on this chipset will typically be manufactured by the likes of LG, Motorola, HMD Global (Nokia), Sharp, TCL (Alcatel) and the like. This will include various original-equipment-manufacturers who specialise in selling products under a private-label agreement with the distributor, retailer or telco.

The coronavirus plague, with the various event and business shutdowns associated with it, has  thrown a spanner in the works regarding bringing 5G mobile broadband in to the mainstream. As well there hasn’t been much market interest in newer smartphone technology and there would be a strong market for affordable smartphones thanks to people concerned about how much they spend, forced by the COVID-19-driven financial downturn.

But this chipset may also be about allowing manufacturers to take less of a gamble when it comes to creating a smartphone or tablet product that embodies a unique form of innovation or answers a particular market’s needs. An example that could come to mind would be a smartphone that has its radio circuitry optimised for long-range reception and pitched for rural and remote areas. Similarly, LG could pull it off again with a smartphone that has a DAB+ digital-radio tuner that would have a greater zone of relevance thanks to more European countries running DAB+ digital radio full time.

What is being highlighted here is that Qualcomm is making it feasible to provide 5G mobile broadband technology at a price affordable for the masses.

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