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Samsung and Mediatek emerge as Qualcomm's top 5G chip rivals in 2020

[2019.11.08, Fri 16:05] Throughout 2019, the 5G chip business has effectively been Qualcomm's to lose - between its Snapdragon 855-series processors and its X50/X55 modems, Qualcomm won the business of almost every company interested in producing a 5G consumer device. With 2020 just around the corner, rivals Samsung and Mediatek have emerged as top 5G chip alternatives for device makers, a point that's expected to become increasingly obvious in the waning weeks of 2019. That's not just a significant design win for the Exynos 980, which could be the first Samsung 5G chip to thrive in non-Samsung smartphones; it also means the 980 will be on shelves a little earlier than expected. Samsung originally said the chip would enter mass production by the end of 2019, with initial device rollouts following in early 2020. Earlier this year, Taiwanese chipmaker Mediatek unveiled the 5G SoC as an all-in-one chip that handles everything from CPU, GPU, and AI functionality to multi-mode 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G communications. Last month, it unveiled the Exynos 990, which decouples the CPU, GPU, and AI features of its chip from a more powerful 5G modem that supports all of the 5G base stations currently in use - millimeter wave and sub-6GHz frequencies. In theory, Intel might have supplied Apple with 5G chips in 2020, but Qualcomm wound up winning that business - and likely at least two if not more years of additional Apple chip sales thereafter.
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