qualcomm keynote mwc

Qualcomm unveils new chips with next-gen Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support

Image credit: Jack Loughran

Chipmaker Qualcomm has unveiled its next generation of smartphone chips at Mobile World Congress (MWC) that that will power many of this year’s flagship smartphones.

The new chips will include Qualcomm's 'FastConnect 7800' platform which will allow them to support the upcoming Wi-Fi 7 standard, which isn’t even expected to be formalised until 2024 at the earliest.

The firm said the chips would be the “world’s first” with Wi-Fi 7 compatibility which will enable new performance benchmarks with peak speeds of 5.8Gbps and sub-2 millisecond latency. It also includes support for 'High Band Simultaneous' technology, which is capable of utilising both 5 and 6GHz spectrum bands concurrently in order to keep latency to an absolute minimum.

For consumers, the low latency features may be most keenly utilised by online gamers, where even split-second delays can make the difference in victories. The technology is also useful for firms leveraging Industry 4.0, which sees manufacturers integrating new technologies, including IoT, cloud computing and analytics.

Wi-Fi 7 comes only a few years after the finalisation of Wi-Fi 6 which is still yet to be supported by many consumer devices. In comparison to the previous generation, Wi-Fi 6 allowed more devices to connect at one time and enhanced data handling to ensure that heavy usage from one user will not negatively impact others on the network. The specification is particularly useful in crowded public areas, such as at sporting events or busy commuter hubs.

The FastConnect 7800 platform succeeds the 6900, which has been included in most Android flagship devices since early 2021.

Qualcomm’s new chips also support a 'Dual Bluetooth' system that should enable power savings for smartphones using the wireless standard as well as potentially doubling the range. It will also enable higher bandwidth music streams up to lossless CD quality audio. As the most popular option for wireless audio streaming, Bluetooth has taken flak in the past for its requirement that music streams be compressed. It is also not considered ideal for gamers due to some inherent latency between devices. Qualcomm said its new Bluetooth technologies will help to reduce latency by up to 25 per cent.

“With FastConnect 7800, Qualcomm Technologies reasserts its leadership by defining the future of wireless connectivity,” said Dino Bekis, Qualcomm vice president.

“Coupled with up to 50 per cent lower power consumption and Intelligent Dual Bluetooth with advanced Snapdragon Sound capabilities, FastConnect 7800 is simply the best client connectivity offering in the industry.”

Hot on the heels of Qualcomm’s new announcements at MWC, Taiwanese rival Mediatek announced its own suite of midrange Dimensity chips that are designed to compete with Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 chips from 2021.

While Qualcomm has long been the dominant chipmaker for Android flagship devices, Mediatek has been improving its competitiveness and is now just slightly behind Qualcomm when it comes to benchmarking statistics.

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