Thu, Dec 06, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Qualcomm unveils new chips to fire up 5G race

Bloomberg

Qualcomm Inc has unveiled new chips that it said would run many of the first phones capable of connecting to new 5G services next year.

The Snapdragon 855 includes a processor and modem to connect to wireless networks. It is the latest version of Qualcomm’s flagship product that has been the heart of most smartphones sold in the past decade.

“In the next few months, we’ll be able to see 5G flagship smartphones that people will be able to buy,” Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said at a company event in Maui, Hawaii, on Tuesday. “This transition is bigger than the one we had with 3G and 4G. This will be much bigger.”

For the chipmaker, the new services cannot come fast enough. Qualcomm’s revenue and profit have slumped during a bitter legal fight with Apple Inc, which is no longer using its chips.

That has exacerbated the effect of cooling consumer interest in smartphones. Industry shipments shrank last year for the first time.

Officials from the largest US carriers, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, appeared at the event, after touting plans to offer 5G services in the first-half of next year.

Samsung Electronics Co, the biggest phone maker, said it would have a 5G phone on the market by then using the new Qualcomm component.

Qualcomm said the 855 would outperform other chips in running artificial intelligence software, such as image recognition, and would also support phones capable of reading users’ fingerprints through screens.

The new 5G networks promise a big step up in data speeds. The technology also reduces latency, or response time.

That could support new mobile services such as remote medicine and automated traffic control.

For the carriers, 5G uses a much broader range of air waves than present systems, including an unlicensed spectrum that they do not have to pay for. The extra capacity should lower their costs and incentivize them to encourage subscribers to move to 5G plans.

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