Qualcomm to bring 5G connectivity to smartwatches and other wearables

Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon X35 5G, an efficiency-optimized version of the X50 solution already used with smartphone devices, capable of delivering 5G connectivity on smartwatch devices and other wearable accessories. According to the company, the first smartwatches equipped with 5G connectivity provided by the X35 modem will be available next year.

Smartwatch devices equipped with SIM card slots and LTE connectivity to mobile networks have long since ceased to arouse the envy of gadget enthusiasts, with such products already occupying many price niches, from the mighty Apple Watch to Android-powered smartwatches promoted by no-name brands in China. Of course, until you get in touch with the first 5G smartwatch, it might be worth asking what you could use the promised speeds of 5G networks for, on the screen of a wearable accessory.

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Just announced, the Snapdragon X35 is the first 5G modem for wearables, compatible with the NR-Light specification set, optimised for power efficiency at the expense of speed. According to developer Qualcomm, the Snapdragon X35 chip will be able to bring internet connectivity to VR and AR glasses and other internet-of-things (IoT) devices.

Crucially, devices equipped with 5G connectivity in the NR-Light (reduced capability) version will have better connection speeds than 4G LTE, but with much improved power efficiency. At least in theory, future smartwatches equipped with the Snapdragon X35 modem will be able to reach speeds of 220Mbps over 5G connections in the sub-6GHz band. Of course, 4G LTE capabilities will still be present, for situations without available 5G coverage.

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