After resisting a hostile takeover attempt, Qualcomm’s 11 Board of Directors members need to do some serious soul-searching in the wake of Broadcom’s substantially sweetened and “final” deal proposal.
The semiconductor giant is also in hot water with the European Commission for market dominance abuse, not to mention how its “strong” and “broad Apple relationship is in greater and greater danger of falling through.
But on the decidedly bright side of things, the vast majority of the world’s leading Android smartphone vendors still want to do business with Qualcomm. Everyone from Samsung to Sony, Xiaomi, LG, HTC and so on is likely to use the Snapdragon 845 SoC on 2018 flagship handsets, with the 2019 generation practically guaranteed to move up to an 855 (name TBC).
When we say “practically guaranteed”, there’s very little educated guesswork involved, as Qualcomm just officially revealed its Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem family has been selected by “a number of global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for standard-compliant 5G NR mobile device product launches starting in 2019.”
A bunch of names were dropped, including Asus, HMD Global, aka “the home of Nokia phones”, HTC, LG, OPPO, Sharp, Sony, Vivo, Xiaomi and ZTE. Oddly enough, Samsung is not on the list, at least not yet, and naturally, Huawei is also missing.
Meanwhile, AT&T, British Telecom, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Sprint, Verizon and Vodafone lead a similarly extensive list of global wireless network operator partners for Snapdragon X50 use in upcoming mobile 5G trials.
Qualcomm will provide all these carriers an in-house smartphone reference design incorporating the X50 chipset, and the aim is to already achieve download speeds of “several gigabits per second” in MWC 2018 demonstrations later this month.
Further down the line, the plan is to pull off “commercial 5G NR network deployments and multimode smartphone launches” sometime in 2019. Yes, 5G will be a reality soon enough, thanks in large part to Qualcomm and both its operator and OEM allies.