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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 690 processor brings 5G to midrange phones

Qualcomm is amping up its midrange 6-series of chips. The company has taken the wraps off of the new Snapdragon 690 processor, which is now the highest-end offering in the 6-series, and is aimed at delivering some premium features to inexpensive phones.

Of course, there’s one premium feature in particular to note here — support for 5G. That makes the Snapdragon 690 the first platform in the 6-series to offer 5G support, meaning that much cheaper phones could soon support 5G.

“Driving the expansion of 5G into the Snapdragon 6-series has the potential to make 5G accessible to more than 2 billion smartphone users around the world,” said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated.

Over the next year or so, 5G in general is expected to become more mainstream. Not only are carriers continuing to deploy their 5G networks, but manufacturers are launching more affordable 5G phones, too.

The Snapdragon 690 offers other features, too, and many of them are firsts for the 6-series. For example, the Snapdragon 690 has support for 4K HDR, 120Hz displays, and more. These features aren’t commonly found on midrange phones, but they will likely trickle down to cheaper phones over the next few years.

The Snapdragon 690 also offers some performance upgrades compared to the previous-generation Snapdragon 675. For example, you’ll get up to a 20% performance boost, along with support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 and Wi-Fi 6. While it definitely isn’t as powerful as Qualcomm’s higher-end chips, it does support some of the same premium features, which is good news for midrange phone buyers.

Qualcomm has also announced partners that are expected to release phones that support the Snapdragon 690. Notably, the company says that HMD Global, LG, Motorola, Sharp, TCL, and Wingtech are all expected to launch phones featuring the Snapdragon 690. There is no timeline for any of these devices. Current-gen phones that use 6-series chips include the likes of the Motorola Moto G series, along with the Nokia 6.2, which comes with a lower-end Snapdragon 636. It’s possible that follow-ups to these devices may offer a Snapdragon 690, though only time will tell.

According to Qualcomm, devices that offer the Snapdragon 690 will arrive in the second half of 2020.

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