5G smartphone race speeds ahead with new entry planned from Samsung

Isaac Cain
December 5, 2018

Consumer-ready 5G networks have yet to be deployed in earnest in the USA, but Qualcomm is getting ahead of the curve by announcing its latest processor and modem so that it can be integrated into upcoming smartphones as the first networks go live.

A 5G capable Samsung Galaxy S10 with a fingerprint sensor under the display doesn't sound all that far-fetched after Tuesday's announcement.

This millimeter-wave 5G RF module works in tandem with the Snapdragon X50.

The new chip also supports VR games at 8k resolutions and 120 frames per second, which should enable much more immersive mobile virtual reality experiences. Specifically, it'll offer multi-gigabit 5G in addition to 4G LTE support, says Qualcomm.

Earlier this week, the phone maker said it would release 5G phones with Verizon and AT&T, and during today's Snapdragon Tech Summit, Samsung senior vice president Justin Denison said a Snapdragon 855-powered Samsung phone would arrive in the first half of 2019.

Qualcomm plans to provide more details about the Snapdragon 855 on Wednesday.

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The 855 is the world's first 5G-ready chipset in any practical sense, as it will be the first to appear in 5G phones you can actually buy for use on 5G networks that actually exist.

Samsung is well known for featuring Qualcomm's chips in some of its flagship devices and a new Snapdragon processor will likely be revealed this week. The Snapdragon 855 is the first chipset from Qualcomm with a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which will help in AI computations.

Another notable feature with the latest SD 855 chipset is the Qualcomm's new 3D Sonic Sensor fingerprint technology.

Apart from the 5G capabilities, the new Snapdragon 855 SoC will feature Qualcomm's fourth-gen multi-core AI Engine.

Rumours also put the new Qualcomm chipset being their first 7nm chipset.

AT&T is also offering 5G service with a rollout in 12 U.S. cities this year, and plans to add service in seven other cities in early 2019, as reported by TechRepublic. The sensor will also be able to scan your finger if it is oily, greasy and wet, and unlock the device. Unlike optical scanners, Katouzian said, the Sonic Scanner takes a 3D image of a fingerprint's image ad pores, making it hard to trick the sensor. Qualcomm says it's built computer vision hardware into the chip, enabling phones to better recognize people and objects they're looking at. All without compromising the battery life.

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