At IFA /Berlin, Qualcomm has announced plans to bring updated Snapdragon Series 7 and even Series 6 with 5G support built-in, instead of using an external modem Series 6 and 7 refers to the Snapdragon 600 and 700 series with the 675 and Snapdragon 730 being the most recent models.
For context, handsets equipped with Snapdragon 675 are in the $300 range, while Snapdragon 730 can be found in handset starting at the same $300 and go as high as $550, depending on other hardware elements.
Today’s most visible 5G phones available in the USA are the Galaxy S10+ 5G, Note 10+ 5G, and the LG V50 5G. They all cost from $1000-$1300 without a contract and use the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 855 along with the discrete Qualcomm X50 5G modem.
The first round of affordable 5G phone comes in the form of the new Samsung Galaxy A90 launching around 749 Euros in Europe (probably $750 in the US when available) and the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G which costs around $850.
The new affordable 5G handsets powered by the next Snapdragon 7-Series are set to appear in the second half of 2020, so it’s not really “imminent” but it’s worth considering if you plan on upgrading your phone between now and then.
So far, 12 phone makers have signed up to build phones based on the new 7-series, but during the press conference, Qualcomm also mentioned that 150 distinct device designs are currently using its 5G technology.
Qualcomm is building things up over technologies already mastered when it created its Qualcomm X55 5G modem, which also integrates 4G and earlier protocols. Of course, this technology will also make its way into the next Snapdragon Series 8, which Qualcomm typically reveals later in the year.
On the same day, Huawei has announced its Kirin 990 silicon, along with the Kirin 990 5G. We suspect that Kirin 990 5G aims at the $650+ market while Snapdragon Series 6 and 7 could reach the $300 market.
In any case, 2020 will see a serious 5G expansion on both the handset and network sides. Also, in 2021 we’ll probably see 5G come even lower in price.