Qualcomm could allow OEMs to release several 5G smartphones this year
The first 5G networks are already being tested in select cities around the world, but the first 5G smartphones might not be released this year, at least judging by Samsung’s schedule to launch the Exynos 9820 in early 2019. Huawei’s Kirin 980 should also support 5G networks, but there is no release date specified or rumored for this one at the moment. However, according to Qualcomm’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Durga Prasad Malladi, there are a few smartphone OEMs that are eager to implement the company’s upcoming 7 nm Snapdragon 855 SoC faster than previously agreed, and, if possible, launch them before the end of 2018.
As previously mentioned, some parts of the globe will get limited 5G services in the second half of 2018, and aggressive OEMs want to capitalize on this. One of the eager OEMs was ZTE, but the recent embargo imposed by the US authorities pretty much cut it short for the Chinese company. ZTE might be saved by Samsung, but that would also mean any plans for a 2018 5G handset should be put on hold. The identity of the other OEMs is not clear, however, Qualcomm is most likely referring to all the top Chinese companies.
Qualcomm’s X50 5G modems are expected to be integrated in mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, laptop PCs, mini PCs, but it could also be sold with add-in boards for desktop PCs. Moreover, 4G LTE and 5G will coexist for at least a year, until all nodes get upgraded accordingly.