(Image courtesy of Qualcomm).
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5g Mobile Platform Chip Back1 0

Qualcomm to Bring 5G Chips to Budget Smartphones by Early 2021

Sept. 10, 2020
Qualcomm plans to roll out Snapdragon 4-series chips for use in 5G smartphones in the $125 to $250 price range, bringing its 5G technology to areas that currently have around 3.5 billion smartphone users combined.

Qualcomm is bringing 5G technology to its budget Snapdragon 4-series processors in early 2021, opening the door to a new generation of 5G smartphones that could cost $250 or less.

The San Diego, California-based company plans to roll out Snapdragon 4-series chips that can be combined with 5G modems for use in smartphones priced from $125 to $250, looking to soften the high prices that have deterred consumers from upgrading to 5G phones. Qualcomm said the chips would be used in smartphones coming to market in the first quarter of 2020.

Xiaomi, Oppo, and Motorola plan to roll out 5G phones featuring the 5G Snapdragon 4-series chips.

By bringing 5G to some of the cheapest smartphones on the market, Qualcomm said the chips will serve areas that currently have around 3.5 billion smartphone users combined. Cristiano Amon, Qualcomm’s president, said the chips will “exceed expectations for the mass-market segment by bringing an assortment of predominately high- and mid-tier features to a broader audience.

"It will deliver on the promise of making 5G accessible to all smartphone users," he added.

Qualcomm, the world's largest smartphone chip vendor, has been trying to add 5G technology to more affordable phones by building chips with a 5G modem embedded on the system-on-a-chip (SoC). Qualcomm has rolled out its Snapdragon 6- and 7-series chips with integrated modems for connecting to 5G networks, which deliver far faster data rates than current 4G technology. It has also started selling its Snapdragon 865 chip requiring a separate 5G modem for flagship phones.

5G smartphones that use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8-series chips tend to cost more than $700, while its Snapdragon 7-series chips with integrated 5G modems are used in phones in the $500 to $700 price range. Its Snapdragon 6-series chips are targeted at 5G phones with price tags of $300 to $500. The first flagship 5G smartphones released last year based on Qualcomm's chips cost north of $1,000.

Qualcomm has maintained its forecast for global 5G smartphone shipments in 2020 of between 175 million and 225 million. In July, the company said shipments would be on the high end of that range, signaling stronger-than-anticipated demand.

Smartphones featuring 5G modems in the first quarter of 2020 accounted for less than 10% of the overall market, according to Counterpoint Research.

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