Earlier this year, Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon X65 and Snapdragon X62 5G Modem-RF solutions. Indeed, the former is set to be the world’s first 10-gigabit 5G modem. We should end up seeing it in devices next year. Now, the company is announcing Snapdragon X65 and Snapdragon X62 M.2 5G modem reference designs.
M.2 is a plug-and-play solution. These M.2 5G modems are made for OEMs that want an easy way to add 5G to a PC, so it should reduce the amount of effort that it takes to do it. Naturally, they’re not for Windows on ARM PCs, since those actually have the modem in the chipset.
“We’ve seen a dramatic growth in data consumption as a result of remote work and higher mobility. To help meet this data demand and create exciting new products and experiences, our new 5G M.2 Reference Designs tackle many 5G design complexities upfront so that OEMs don’t have to,” said Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Qualcomm Technologies is committed to leading the acceleration and expansion of 5G beyond smartphones. We’ve built world-class engineering and customer service teams dedicated to 5G mobile broadband to equip customers with advanced reference designs. We are empowering the ecosystem to bring next generation Release 16 5G products as early as late 2021 and helping create new business opportunities across computing, CPEs, XR, gaming, industrial IoT and beyond.”
Both modems support sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G, but that doesn’t mean devices built using these M.2 5G modems will support both. It still requires proper antenna design, which is a lot harder to do for mmWave connectivity. In fact, all of the current 5G Intel-powered PCs on the market have Snapdragon X55 modems. They could support mmWave if the OEM wanted them to, but none of them do.
This is more of a shot across the bow of MediaTek. You might recall that back in 2019, MediaTek and Intel announced a partnership to have MediaTek modems in Intel-powered 5G PCs, but those PCs wouldn’t arrive until 2021. This partnership was a result of Intel giving up its 5G efforts to Apple. Still, since those devices were a couple of years out, Qualcomm has been filling the gaps in producing 5G modems for always-connected PCs.
Qualcomm says that its new Snapdragon X65 and Snapdragon X62 5G M.2 reference designs are available to customers now.