Qualcomm launches Snapdragon 888 Plus, 5G accelerator card, new small cell platform

The upshot: Qualcomm is looking to boost 5G mmWave adoption on multiple fronts including industrial use cases.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Qualcomm is looking to boost mmWave 5G adoption across smartphones, infrastructure as well as industrial applications.

Building out the infrastructure to support 5G mmWave is going to be critical for everything from industry 4.0 applications to smart cities to keeping unlimited data plans, said Ignacio Contreras, senior director of product marketing at Qualcomm.

"As more users go back to normal you'll see more of the difference in what mmWave provides at places like train station, coffee shops, stadiums and trade shows," he said. "Networks need to deliver more capacity to keep unlimited plans affordable."

Among the key announcements from Qualcomm at Mobile World Congress 2021.

Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G platform for premium tier smartphones rolling out in the second half. The follow-up to the Snapdragon 888 improves on the artificial intelligence engine for gaming and entertainment and boosts Qualcomm Kryo 680 CPU Prime clock speed up to 3.0 GHz.

According to Qualcomm, the 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine has up to 32 TOPS AI performance, which is a 20% improvement over the predecessor.


Qualcomm launched the 5G DU X100 Accelerator Card. The hardware is designed to boost performance, be power efficient with low latency and be turnkey for 5G networks.

The company is betting on providing infrastructure to accelerate virtualized radio access networks (RAN). RAN networks use radio transceivers to connect devices and manage network resources across devices and cellular networks.

Qualcomm 5G DU X100 is a PCIe inline accelerator card supporting concurrent Sub-6 GHz and mmWave. The theory is that the card will simplify 5G deployments because it can plug into off the shelf servers to handle backend functions.

Qualcomm released the second generation of its 5G RAN Platform for Small Cells (FSM200xx), which will have global spectrum support across mmWave and Sub-6 GHz. It also has the 3GPP Release 16 5G Modem-RF System for industry 4.0 applications for factories and other areas.


The platform supports all commercial global mmWave and Sub-6 GHz bands. Small cells will be critical for 5G public and private networks due to the need for densification. 

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