For many years now, cell phone chipmakers have been on a race to miniaturize 5G components in order to win the biggest market quota when the devices become available. That race is still on. Today, Qualcomm announced that it has reduced its 5G millimeter wave antennas by 25%. As one of the top telecommunications equipment companies, Qualcomm 5G antennas are expected to feature massively in early 5G smartphones.
Qualcomm revealed QTM052 millimeter wave antennas (first Qualcomm 5G antennas) to the public earlier in July. The world’s first fully-integrated mmWave RF solution for smartphones was roughly finger-sized modules comprising of a 5G NR radio transceiver, a phased antenna array, RF front-end components, and power management IC. The antenna modules support Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modems and each can be used in varied ranges of mmWave bands – 26.5 to 29.5 GHz, 27.5 to 28.35 GHz, or 37 to 40 GHz. However, device manufacturers have the option to build up to four-antenna arrays to boost signal range, said Qualcomm.
Challenges with the first Qualcomm 5G antennas
Fitting even a single Qualcomm 5G antenna modules into a device has been a major challenge, whereas manufacturers are interested in including up to four antennas in one device to reduce the chances of signal loss, especially in handheld devices. The ever-shrinking bezels found in our recent smartphones have made matters even worse.
This has forced various 5G chipmakers into eleventh-hour work to miniaturize the antennas, as the world is looking forward to seeing 5G handsets a few months from now. Qualcomm acknowledged the challenge, saying that the company will ensure that the inclusion of its millimeter wave hardware does not impact on the size of 5G smartphones.
The smaller Qualcomm 5G antenna
With the launch time of early 5G mobile devices very close, Qualcomm has announced a progress in its effort to improve size flexibility in the upcoming 5G devices. Reducing the 5G antennas by a quarter means that Qualcomm has helped device makers with the easier implementation of a single 5G antenna, and has significantly reduced the size of a four-antenna array by one antenna size. This means more space for a battery and choice for a smaller 5G smartphone.
Qualcomm said it has provided its numerous OEM partners with the freedom and flexibility in their 5G mmWave designs as they “now have more options for antenna placement.”
Manufacturers will conveniently use Qualcomm’s smaller QTM052 mmWave antenna in 5G devices launching from early 2019. Lenovo has admitted it will use Qualcomm 5G modem in its early 5G phones. The chip maker has also disclosed that at least two Android flagships launching in 2019 will feature the smaller 5G modem.
The cellular chip vendor is also targeting a total of 19 OEMs that will launch 5G phones in 2019 to use its 5G modem. Manufactures like Motorola, OPPO, Vivo, HTC, Xiami, LG, OnePlus and others.