Qualcomm's New AI-Boosted Modem for Speedier Phones Debuts at MWC 2024

The chipmaker introduced its Snapdragon X80 5G modem to connect premium Android smartphones to 5G networks and satellites.

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, telecom industry, mobile semiconductors, mobile gaming
David Lumb
2 min read
A modem chip sits encased in display plastic with lots of labeled writing and the Snapdragon logo.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X80 5G modem debuts at MWC 2024.


Now that carriers have built out their 5G networks, phones are getting new hardware to better harness them for faster and more reliable speeds. At MWC 2024 in Barcelona, Qualcomm debuted its Snapdragon X80 5G modem, which enables phones to better utilize the signal bandwidth in a carrier's network, build out satellite connectivity and improve 5G home internet

The modem is the latest version of the silicon Qualcomm releases every year for premium phones. Last year's Snapdragon X75 5G modem is found the Samsung's Galaxy S24 series, for example. The X80 5G sets the course for how the top-end Android phones coming out later this year connect to mobile networks and even satellites.

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The X80 5G is the latest in Qualcomm's line of premium mobile modems, building on the Snapdragon X75 5G introduced at MWC 2023 that could connect to satellites through the formerly proposed Snapdragon Satellite proprietary service (which Qualcomm seemingly put on hold at the end of 2023). Instead, the new X805G supports a general NB-NTN standard of satellite connectivity that should be open to more satellite solutions. 

The X80 5G also expands its use of artificial intelligence through its dedicated AI processor, which Qualcomm says improves data speeds, latency and managing multiple antennas (the modem supports up to six antennas on smartphones), as well as efficiently switching between wireless spectrum and managing power drain. 

The AI advancements also help when the X80 5G modem is used in other devices; when used in fixed wireless access solutions (aka 5G home internet), the modem uses AI to extend the range of millimeter wave signal.

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Qualcomm expects devices using the Snapdragon X80 to start launching in the second half of 2024 but didn't specify which phone makers or companies would use the modem in their products.

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