Qualcomm has a new, third generation 5G modem and RF antenna system, called the Snapdragon X60. The product interestingly comes right after Apple, with whom Qualcomm has had a bit of a mixed relationship, found its previous Snapdragon X55 5G modem to not be the best fit for its 5G iPhones. The Snapdragon X60 is built on the 5nm fabrication process, which is a generational leap for chipsets, finally moving on from the 7nm standard. Among multiple features, the key takeaways for the Snapdragon X60 modem are its carrier aggregation properties that allow it to offer better speeds even in areas without full 5G deployment, as well as aggregation for mmWave and sub-6 spectra — the two 5G bandwidths. This makes it a universal 5G modem, and along with these features, the Snapdragon X60 features a new, slim antenna design that can seemingly help the making of sleeker 5G smartphones powered by this modem.
According to Qualcomm's official blog post, the Snapdragon X60 5G modem comes with FDD-TDD and TDD-TDD 5G carrier aggregation, which enables simultaneous switching and operation on standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) 5G networks. This lets it offer faster speeds of over 5Gbps on standalone 5G networks, as well as gigabit-class connectivity on NSA 5G networks. It also aggregates operator networks on both mmWave and sub-6 spectra, which in turn means that the Snapdragon X60 5G modem will also have higher network reception capabilities. This should allow it to simultaneously offer faster peak speeds on any 5G network, hence offering better speed, reach and network capacity over its predecessor.
Further, the Snapdragon X60 5G modem offers a smaller mmWave 5G antenna design, which can allow smartphone manufacturers to produce sleeker smartphone designs with the new modem. Apple has notably faced issues with the same, and a recent report suggested that Apple is working on its own antenna design to fit its device thickness requirements. With the Snapdragon X55 modem being an additional module on Qualcomm's present flagship, the Snapdragon 865, the Snapdragon X60 modem may be offered as an integrated option in future flagship grade, 5G-ready processors.