Qualcomm has introduced its smallest millimeter wave antenna module yet, giving device manufacturers more flexibility in designing 5G smartphones that are expected to launch in 2019.
In July, Qualcomm first debuted its QTM025 family of 5G NR mmWave antenna modules, which were small enough to fit on a fingertip. The latest additions are 25 percent smaller than the first versions, providing OEMs with more options for antenna placement, according to the chip maker.
The new models pair with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem and include a phased antenna array design, which Qualcomm said works for integrating up to four modules in a smartphone. Support for advanced beam forming, beam steering and beam tracking technologies enable improved range reliability of mmWave signals, Qualcomm says.
The modules also feature an integrated 5G NR radio transceiver, power management IC, and RF front-end components. They support up to 800 MHz of bandwidth in the 26.5-29.6 GHz, 27.5-28.35 and 37-40 GHz mmWave bands.
Customers are sampling the tinier version of the modules now and Qualcomm anticipates they will launch in commercial 5G devices early next year.
“At Qualcomm Technologies, we’re constantly looking for ways to innovate and revolutionize the mobile experience, and we’ve done that with the QTM052 mmWave antenna modules, which build on a major milestone that we introduced in July 2018,” said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated, in a statement. “We are dedicated to providing OEMs more versatility in their 5G smartphone form factor offerings, and that’s made possible through Qualcomm Technologies’ groundbreaking innovations in miniaturizing 5G NR mmWave modules.”
Sprint and LG have previously said the companies are working together to deliver the first 5G smartphone in the U.S. by the first half of 2019. Verizon and Motorola, meanwhile, announced they would introduce the first “5G-capable” smartphone. The 5G capability for that phone though, comes via a clip-on module housing a modem that supports 5G over millimeter wave spectrum, rather than support embedded in the device itself. The mod is expected to come out early next year.