Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 480 could see a 5G free-for-all in 2021

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Chris Smith

It seems 2021 could be the year 5G becomes a standard feature on most smartphones thanks to processors like the newly-announced Qualcomm Snapdragon 480.

The affordable chipset includes the X51 5G model, as well as an LTE modem, meaning more and more users at lower price points will be able to access next-gen data speeds.

Until now high-end and mid-range handsets have received 5G, but the launch of a new 4-Series Snapdragon could see lower-end phones start arriving with 5G on board in the early part of 2021.

The likes of HMD Global (Nokia), OnePlus, Vivo and OPPO have committed to the launching smartphones with the new platform in 2021.

Related: New phones 2021

“We can’t wait to deliver advanced 5G capabilities to the mass market through upcoming device based on the new Snapdragon 480 5G Mobile Platform,” said Kinder Liu, chief operating officer, OnePlus. Presumably, Lui is referring to a new version of the OnePlus Nord smartphone as it continues to boost its offerings at various price points.

Nokia owner HMD Global meanwhile, says the new Snapdragon 480 represents a “huge step towards global 5G access” and will enable the company to include 5G connectivity in a much wider range of devices.

The X51 modem supports mmWave and sub-6GHz bands, the latter of which is all that should concern UK users right now. Qualcomm says potential max download speeds of 2.5Gbps are possible, while upload speeds max out at around 600Mbps.

Elsewhere, the company says this is the most advanced 4-Series chip to date, promising Bluetooth 5.1, dual frequency GPS and dual Wi-Fi antennas. It also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ tech, and provides 100% performance improvement in the CPU and GPU. It supports up to 120fps FHD displays too.

In a press release, Qualcomm says the first phones packing the Snapdragon 480 will arrive in early 2021. We could see the first of them at the forthcoming virtual CES and MWC expos.

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