Skip to main content

Qualcomm is bringing 5G chipsets to ultra-low-cost smartphones

Qualcomm is finally making 5G accessible across almost all smartphone price ranges. The company has announced its plans to launch a Snapdragon 4-series chipset that supports 5G next year. Phones with 4-series chips, like the Moto E7 Plus, generally come in at under $200.

The Snapdragon 4 series is specifically aimed at international markets, and the new chip will ideally support some of the first 5G phones accessible in those markets. According to Qualcomm, 5G networks are now available in 35 countries, and that number is likely to grow over the next few years.

“Qualcomm continues to pave the way for 5G commercialization at scale, and the expansion of 5G into our Snapdragon 4-series is expected to address regions that currently have approximately 3.5 billion smartphone users combined,” said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm, in a press release time to coincide with the IFA show in Berlin. “The Snapdragon 4-series 5G Mobile Platform is designed to 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.”

The new chip is likely to be used by at least a few companies in regions like India and China. Companies like Motorola, Oppo, and Xiaomi have all launched 4-series devices over the past few years, and may be among the first to adopt the new 5G chip.

Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long to see devices with the chip. Qualcomm will launch the platform in early 2021, and says that it expects phones featuring the chipset to launch in the first quarter.

Of course, launching 5G-compatible phones is really only one piece of the 5G puzzle. While 5G is becoming a little more common in the U.S., networks in countries like India still have yet to deploy widespread coverage. Even in the U.S., it’s still not necessarily worth buying a phone for its 5G support alone — though most flagship devices these days support the new network.

We’ll have to wait and see how many devices actually make use of the new chipset, and whether or not it will help drive 5G adoption. With the new chipset, Qualcomm now integrates 5G into its 8-series, 7-series, 6-series, and 4-series lines of phones.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
This tiny dongle will change 5G connectivity forever
TCL Linkkey IK511 5G Dongle against a blue background.

TCL is having a busy start to 2024. First, it announced a staggering number of new smartphones and two new tablets at CES, and now it’s unveiling something else at MWC 2024 — one of the world’s first 5G dongles that takes advantage of the latest power-efficient 5G standards.

TCL Mobile’s Linkkey IK511 is a pocketable new 5G adapter that’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X35 5G Modem-RF system, which debuted last year as the first 5G modem to support the new NR-Light “RedCap” standard.
5G for everyone, everything, everywhere
TCL Linkkey IK511 TCL

Read more
T-Mobile just set another 5G speed record
Cell phone tower shooting off pink beams with a 5G logo next to it.

T-Mobile’s rivals may be nipping at its heels in the 5G race, but the Uncarrier is determined to stay ahead of the game. It not only boasts the fastest and most expansive 5G network in the U.S., but it’s actively working on technologies that will help it reach even greater peak speeds.

Two years ago, T-Mobile used a relatively new technique known as 5G Carrier Aggregation (5G CA) to achieve the kind of 3Gbps download speeds on midband frequencies that had previously been the exclusive domain of extremely high (and extremely short-range) mmWave technologies. Now, it’s chalked up another 5G first by taking advantage of the latest developments to shatter the traditional cap on upload speeds over sub-6GHz frequencies.
T-Mobile's newest 5G record

Read more
Verizon just took a huge leap ahead in the 5G race
Verizon store front displays the 5G network in NYC.

After a year or two of steady growth in 5G performance among the big three U.S. carriers, things seemed to level off in 2023, with reports showing mostly incremental improvements each quarter.

However, it seems that the underdogs took a big leap forward in the last three months of the year. According to Ookla’s latest market research, Verizon and AT&T showed 5G speed increases of over 20% from the prior quarter — a change that’s resulted in Verizon significantly narrowing T-Mobile’s longstanding lead.

Read more