When people talk about smartphones, they talk about how fast they are or how sharp the display is. But what about the modem chip? The one piece of your smartphone that connects your device to cell networks is almost always ignored. Qualcomm, the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphone chips, is hoping to change that.
Qualcomm hopes that by changing its chips’ names to clearly define its upload and download speeds, users will benefit. This will allow consumers to easily determine if they’re buying a phone with a top-of-the-line, speedy modem, or a low-end modem with sluggish download speeds.
Most consumers are aware of Qualcomm’s chips whether they realize it or not. The company’s Snapdragon chips are used in Sony, Samsung and Motorola flagship phones. But its new class of modems, X5-X12, will let customers know just how fast the upload and download speeds of their phone will be. The X12, for example, will offer download speeds of up to 450 megabits per second. The X5, on the other hand, will offer slower speeds of 150 megabits per second. In the future, chip names will continue to increment, so future releases may include the X15 or higher.
The name changes are an attempt to make it easier for consumers to understand what their phones are capable of before buying it. Aside from the name changes, the company will also be gradually retiring its standalone chip, the Gobi, and renaming it to make it a part of the Snapdragon brand.
Qualcomm also revealed four new mid-range chips on Wednesday, the Snapdragon 618 and 620 as well as the Snapdragon 415 and 425. The 600 chip series will include high-end features, such as 4K video capabilities. It will also allow consumers to use both of their smartphones’ cameras at once. These new chips are expected to be implemented in new devices by the second half of 2015.