Being a company investing in wireless, and with hp 16gb ram being the next big set of wireless technologies, Qualcomm took the time to explain why it is leading in this field. The first day keynote was run by the President of Qualcomm, Cristiano Amon, who we interviewed later in the day. Before we can get 5G into the hands of users and inside devices, the infrastructure has to be there, and as a result there were presentations from the two largest US carriers, Verizon and AT&T. Both companies are racing to deploy various forms of 5G in cities across the US, and the title of being first are very important to them. Truth be told, Verizon’s presentation seemed stronger than AT&T, but both companies are very committed to 5G rollout through 2019 and into 2020. We also saw Everything Everywhere, a carrier in the UK, discuss its plans for 5G rollout and trial sites in London. At the end of the presentation, Qualcomm revealed the name of its new smartphone SoC, the Snapdragon 855, with more details to follow the next day.
After the keynote was demo time. Both AT&T and Verizon had installed small cell mmWave 5G networks in separate demo rooms, running on different frequencies. In each case we saw 5G mobile hotspots being used from Netgear and inseego, with these devices containing both the Snapdragon 855 SoC and X50 modem, along with a battery. In the Verizon room, we also saw Motorola’s 5G moto mod in action for the first time with the moto z3 smartphone, and it also has the S855+X50 combo, but also with 10 antennas inside. We also saw the insides of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 5G smartphone reference design. There was also an unnamed Samsung 5G-enabled smartphone doing video streaming, however the device remained in black-screen mode to avoid users looking at the funny notch it had.
To end the day, we had a 1-on-1 interview with Cristiano Amon, questioning him on Qualcomm’s expected return on investment on 5G, when 5G is coming to the mid-range, what use cases can 5G have for suburbia/rural communities, and how Qualcomm perceives Apple’s single-threaded performance advantage. It’s a great read – many thanks to Cristiano and his team for taking the time for us.
Day Two: All About Snapdragon 855
The second keynote of the event focused on the smartphone SoC that is going to power the majority of 2019 Android flagships, the Snapdragon 855. This is Qualcomm’s first entry into the 7nm manufacturing node, and under the hood we get some beefy specifications: eight Kryo 385 cores, one boosting up to 2.84 GHz, Adreno 640 graphics, a much bigger Hexagon 690 DSP, a faster X24 modem capable of 2 Gbps, and plenty besides.