Qualcomm has been one busy bee this past year. They had just announced the Snapdragon Flight built especially for drones in a move that puts the company at the forefront of commercial drone tech. And now, Qualcomm just unveiled the Snapdragon 820 which, among other things, is simply groundbreaking for mobile devices.
In a nutshell, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor is the world’s first mobile processor that can support a whopping 600Mbps Cat 12 LTW downlink and up to 150Mbps Cat LTE uplink. The Snapdragon 820 also features Quick Charge 3.0 which allows smartphones to charge up to four times faster! It will also feature Smart Wi-Fi calling. And much, much more.
How is the Snapdragon 820 able to do this? Well, everyone can thank the engineers who created the X12 LTE modem. This modem is integrated into the microchip and can also support LTE in unlicensed or LTE-U—probably the biggest deal of all the hype surrounding the 820.
The X12 modem is integrated into the microchip and can also support LTE in unlicensed or LTE-U—probably the biggest deal of all the hype surrounding the 820.
The X12 LTE modem supports what is known as “higher order modulation” on both downlink and uplink compared to just using carrier aggregation alone. Think of this: the newest devices now all boast a 4k display. A phone equipped with an X12 LTE modem will be able to stream, lossless, massive amounts of data into the screen. The same goes for smart TVs and other devices for a wildly enjoyable viewing experience.
The X12 LTE is also designed to automatically choose between LTE and Wi-Fi, depending on signal quality, etc. This check by the processor makes Wi-Fi calling much smoother and, if the signal becomes choppy mid-call, then it switches to LTE seamlessly. No dropped calls. The X12 is able to combine Wi-Fi and LTE connection in a way never before seen.
Now, let us get to the LTE-U. This technology was first introduced by Qualcomm two years ago. Basically, LTE-U allows operators to install compact cell towers named “small cells” in areas which have high LTE demand. Phones with the Snapdragon 820 with X12 LTE processors will get access to this spectrum in addition to the regularly licensed spectrum, making downloads doubly fast.
This bonding of Wi-Fi and two kinds of LTE in one chip is certainly news indeed. Phones with access to LTE-U also give the additional benefit of freeing up bandwidth for other users who use the regular spectrum only.
Check out this video to prove the advantages of using LTE-U, straight from the guys from Qualcomm: