Qualcomm opened the door for 5G phones in 2019 (QCOM)

  • Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 processor opened the door for 5G smartphones in 2019.
  • The Snapdragon 855 mobile platform boasts several key improvements over the current Snapdragon 845.
  • These improvements will play a key role in convincing consumers to upgrade to smartphones based on Qualcomm’s platform.

Qualcomm took a big step in ushering in the first wave of 5G smartphones with the announcement of its next-generation Snapdragon 855 mobile platform at its summit in Hawaii on Tuesday.


The Snapdragon 855 processor is the first to support multi-gigabit connectivity consisting of mobile 5G networks, 4G LTE, and Wi-Fi, and is expected to integrate Qualcomm’s previously announced X50 modem to achieve 5G speeds. The chip will be embedded in the first round of 5G-capable Android smartphones starting in early 2019 from the likes of Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC, OnePlus, and more.

The Snapdragon 855 mobile platform boasts several key improvements over the current Snapdragon 845.

First, Qualcomm tripled AI performance with the new chip. The mobile platform features the company’s new fourth-generation AI Engine unit, which enables on-device AI processing and is expected to improve tasks such as image recognition, translation, and speech transcription. Improving speech transcription, for example, could enable voice assistants to more quickly process users’ vocal commands.

Second, it features a dedicated vision processor that increases video-capturing capacity on a single charge. The Computer Vision ISP processor allows for 4K HDR video capture at 60 fps with 25% of the power used on the previous mobile platform. 

Finally, the new 3D Sonic Sensor enables more accurate and secure fingerprint scanning. The sensor uses sound waves to build a 3D mold of a user’s finger, including ridges and pores, instead of storing a flat image of a fingerprint, as its predecessor did. This enables it to read fingerprints through contaminants such as water, oil, or grime. And, since the sensor uses more data to verify fingerprints, the technology is harder to fool.

These improvements will play a key role in convincing consumers to upgrade to smartphones based on Qualcomm’s platform. As smartphone prices continue to rise, consumers today are likely looking for more significant improvements in their next smartphones before investing in an upgrade. Qualcomm’s chip will provide considerable improvements to Android handsets, from more secure fingerprint scanning to faster AI-driven tasks, and encourage more users to pull the trigger on their next handset as a result.

5G is very nearly here, and these lightning-fast networks will change how telecommunications shapes business and offer new and transformative possibilities in the IoT space.

As 5G networks become a reality in 2019 and 2020, the new standard will further increase the appeal of cellular solutions in the areas where it’s available. And, as 5G-supported hardware rolls out, companies can use the network to support their IoT business.

But the excitement around 5G doesn’t mean it should be selected above all other options whenever available. In fact, in some cases, it’s not even the best among cellular solutions. Companies that use IoT devices and providers of IoT-based services and solutions need to be discerning in their determinations of where 5G will help and where it won’t.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence will examine how the introduction of 5G is poised to transform portions of the IoT ecosystem. First, we look at the 5G standard broadly, identifying its strengths and weaknesses in comparison with existing standards, as well as laying out the timeline for rollout and expectations within the wireless industry. Next, we look at the new practices that 5G will enable in the IoT, focusing specifically on the capacity for high-bandwidth remote analytics, as well as the ability to use remote processing centers for mission-critical services. Finally, we examine areas where 5G will leave gaps and how companies will need to cope with the standards’ early limitations.

The companies mentioned in this report are: AT&T, Ericsson, FairCom, InterDigital, Motorola, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Quectel, Sierra Wireless, Telstra, Verizon, and ZTE.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Where available, 5G will enable exciting new IoT use cases, like real-time remote analytics and the remote execution of mission-critical services.
  • While 5G will offer a variety of useful new capabilities for companies that provide and use IoT solutions, there will be areas where it won’t be useful within the IoT — at least not immediately.
  • Companies offering IoT solutions need to look at 5G as a tool in their arsenal; the thing they need to figure out is when they can build solutions that amplify its strengths, mitigate its weaknesses, and when turn to alternatives if they can’t adequately do either.

In full, the report:

  • Provides an overview of the key differences between 5G networks and today’s alternatives.
  • Highlights the ways that 5G will enable new practices in the IoT.
  • Presents some of the expectations for 5G from companies that will bring the standard to the world.

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