Qualcomm brings 5G to non-flagship mobiles with Snapdragon 690

New chip also gains 4K HDR and 120Hz display support for first time in a 6-series Snapdragon.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Qualcomm is taking 5G beyond flagship devices, with its new Snapdragon 690 chip getting support for the next-gen mobile connectivity, as well as 4K HDR support, and the ability to handle displays capable of a 120Hz refresh rate.

The 6-series chips are often found in phones that not quite flagship level, but not budget either -- such as the Google Pixel 3a.

The chip giant said it expects the likes of LG, Motorola, HMD, and Sharp to announce phones using the new chip, and the devices to be available in the second half of the year.

"Driving the expansion of 5G into the Snapdragon 6-series has the potential to make 5G accessible to more than 2 billion smartphone users around the world," Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said.

The new Snapdragon consists of a Kryo 560 octacore CPU that is able to run up to 2GHz, with its 5G modem capable of 2.5Gbps down, and 660Mbps up. The 120Hz refresh rate is supported up to FHD+ resolutions of 2220x1080, with the system-on-chip fabricated using an 8nm process and able to support up to 8GB of 1866MHz memory.

Compared to its predecessor, Qualcomm boasted the CPU was 20% faster, and its 619L GPU was 60% better.

At the end of 2019, Qualcomm outlined the 5G versions of its premium 865 platform and its 765 chips.

On Thursday, Ericsson announced it had increased its estimate for the number of global 5G users by the end of 2020, from 13 million to 190 million in its latest instalment of its Ericsson Mobility Report.

The report said the boost occurred despite estimates in Europe and North America being lowered due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and flow-on effects, such as nations delaying spectrum auctions, with China experiencing a surge in its 5G uptake.

By the end of 2025, the telco equipment vendor now expects 2.8 billion 5G subscriptions -- a slight increase on the 2.6 billion figure from November -- which would account for 30% of all mobile services.

"LTE will remain the dominant mobile access technology by subscription during the forecast period," the report said.

"It is projected to peak in 2022 at 5.1 billion subscriptions and decline to around 4.4 billion subscriptions by the end of 2025 as more subscribers migrate to 5G."

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