Qualcomm's Latest Chip Provides Gigabit LTE Speeds

Illustration for article titled Qualcomms Latest Chip Provides Gigabit LTE Speeds

Hold on to your data contracts: Qualcomm’s latest modem chip will enable mobile devices to achieve LTE download speeds of up to 1Gbps. Now you just need to find a network that can support it.

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The new Snapdragon X16 modem offers what are known as Category 16 LTE download speeds. For normal humans, that means it can provide speeds of up to 1Gbps—2 or 3 times faster than most modern smartphones, which tend to top out at either 300Mbps or 450Mbps. The new chip will also let you upload at speeds of up to 150Mbps.

The X16 chip doesn’t use extra chunks of spectrum to send data faster, like devices have done in the past. Instead it just makes better use of what’s available to it, using some fancy signal processing to squeeze more streams of data into the same old 20 MHz slices of spectrum your current phone makes use of. You can read more about the details in Qualcomm’s release.

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For now, the new chips will only be available as separate modems to be used alongside existing system-on-a-chip hardware—for what it’s worth, Apple uses Snapdragon modems alongside its silicon. But you can probably expect a new Snapdragon chipset to feature the hardware later in the year, too.

All of which is great, though how easy it will be to make use of the speed bump is quite another matter. Only a very few LTE networks would provide anywhere near 1Gbps speeds just yet—so it’s an investment in the future, rather than the present.

[Qualcomm via Ars Technica]

Image by Xerones

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DISCUSSION

HKT and Huawei Hong Kong tested its 1gb LTE network last year. Yeah, it works. In fact, it works really really good. Coming soon.

Even my normal HKT SIM (get them at the HK airport, free install) in my OnePlus One is already 400% faster than virtually anything in the US. Our T-Mobile and ATT SIMs were the damn-slow dead dogs this last Christmas, we all complained like WTF?

My guess is Huawei is looking hard at the East Asia market using those exact X16 chips, (a lot of people are ready for upgrades here this year). Even Samsung had better make some heavy handed hardware changes... fast. Huawei is making faster, cheaper, more reliable equipment now, and I personally think that the phones even look nicer too.

OK. LTE-A, at 150 mbps, is already available in many Asian cities for pennies on the US dollar in value per mb. The USA has fallen so far behind, I really don’t think there will ever be a time when there is a fast provider at anything close to what we get here in Asia. Australia? They get it. Super fast as well.

Download a 1 gb movie to your LTE X16 based phone or tablet in 30 seconds anyone? Yep. Wait, Americans need not apply. iPeople? Riiiight.