Samsung on Wednesday unveiled a brand new smartphone component that will equip Galaxy phones soon.
It’s unclear at this time what Samsung devices will get the new chip next year, but it sure is a smartphone part that Apple doesn’t have for the iPhone, and that could offer an exciting marketing advantage to Samsung for at least a year.
That’s the Exynos Modem 5100 5G chip that will equip Samsung’s first 5G handset next year. We already know from Samsung that the first Galaxy phone to deliver 5G support next year won’t be the Galaxy S10, but we have no idea what it’s supposed to be. It’s likely that Galaxy flagships launching in the second half of 2019, as well as all future high-end Samsung phones and tablets, will pack 5G support.
Apple, meanwhile, has to outsource 5G modems for the iPhone from a third party, with Intel and Qualcomm being the likely manufacturers of such components. Even Samsung might have to use Qualcomm modems inside future 5G phones that will be powered by next-gen Qualcomm processors, like the Snapdragon 855 that’s rumored to debut next. The Exynos Modem 5100 will likely be paired with the next-gen Exynos chips from Samsung.
Samsung says the Modem 5100 is the industry’s first 5G modem that is “fully compatible with 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 15 (Rel.15), the most up-to-date standard specification for 5G New Radio (5G-NR).”
The chip is built on 10nm process technology and offers legacy radio support. Aside from 5G, the chip will also support older standards, from the old 2G to the current 4G LTE, and that’s just what we expect from 5G modems. It’ll be a while until 5G support becomes widely available, so devices packing 5G chips will have to be able to connect to 4G networks.
When it comes to performance, the Modem 5100 should support speeds of up to 2Gbps in the sub-6GHz settings, and up to 6Gbps in mmWave settings. The 4G LTE speeds also get a notable bump, from 1.2Gbps to 1.6Gbps. These are theoretical speeds, of course, so actual mileage may vary in real-life conditions.
Samsung says the 5G modem will be available to customers, including its mobile division by the end of 2018, but no actual brands are mentioned.
While Samsung already confirmed that it’ll launch a 5G phone next year, it’s unlikely to see a 5G iPhone debut as soon as next fall, considering what Apple did in the past.