India will get its first 5G smartphone powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Series mobile platform this year. This mobile platform, which is yet unannounced, will make 5G smartphones affordable and accessible in the emerging markets. The new mobile platform will join Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 765G mobile platforms tasked to make 5G, a reality for consumers. Rajen Vagadia, President of Qualcomm India, during a telephonic interview with BGR India, confirmed the company’s plan.

The launch of 5G smartphones powered by Snapdragon 6 Series mobile chipset is subject to market scenario. It might get delayed if the ramp up post Coronavirus is slower. However, the company is looking to help its partners make 5G more affordable and accessible. Qualcomm has become the torchbearer for 5G mobile telephony. It has single handedly driven the transition from 4G to 5G around the world.

While the company initially focused on making 5G available on mobile devices via Snapdragon 8 Series, it has expanded the product lineup. At IFA 2019, it announced plans to launch 5G mobile platforms in the Snapdragon 7 and Snapdragon 6 Series. It delivered on that promise with the launch of Snapdragon 765G mobile platform at Snapdragon Summit in December last year. With Snapdragon 6 Series, Vagadia says Qualcomm will put 5G capable devices in the hands of more consumers. All the three mobile platforms are designed to accelerate 5G adoption across different markets.

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5G for the masses with Snapdragon 6 Series

In an interview last year, Vagadia had said that 5G devices will precede the availability of network in India. Now, he says 5G devices will not only be available but will also be affordable in India before 5G deployment from telecom operators. India has already seen the launch of 5G smartphones in the form of Realme X50 Pro 5G and iQOO 3 5G. Both devices are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC with Snapdragon X55 5G modem. However, the company sees launch of a number of new devices powered by Snapdragon 765G in the coming months.

“The visibility we have is quite a few of the 700 series products are headed towards India,” Vagadia said on the call. He also added that the roadmap would have been different if there had not been an outbreak of pandemic. “I think there is still a lot of time left within this year itself where you will see some meaningful launches on 700 series,” he added.

The big takeaway being that a 5G smartphone powered by Snapdragon 6 Series will be cheaper than one powered by Snapdragon 7 Series. For Qualcomm, the transition is all about creating an economy of scale. For instance, India got its first 4G smartphone nearly two years before wide availability of the network. However, the transition in the 5G space is happening at an even quicker pace. Xiaomi and Realme have already confirmed plans to bring a 5G smartphone with Snapdragon 7 Series chipset.

When Qualcomm makes its Snapdragon 6 Series chipset with 5G support official, these companies are expected to demand a supply. Vagadia also told us that these chipsets should not be seen just for their 5G capabilities. While 5G is important and marks a “G” transformation, the bigger picture will be enhancements across the board. They will have faster download and upload speeds over existing 4G networks and faster Wi-Fi speeds. If previous chipsets are any indicator then we should see significant improvements to image signal processors as well.

5G is not just a concept. “5G is here and it is here in a meaningful way,” Vagadia said. While Indian telecom players are at least a year away from bringing 5G, the introduction of new 5G capable devices will push them to accelerate their plans. A 5G smartphone may not mean a game changer right now but it will keep you ahead of the curve. If not in India, you will be able to experience 5G speeds in other markets like Korea, China or the US without having to buy a new device.

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