Although this year’s MWC communication conference was canceled, the rhythm of the 5G chips of the technology giants is still as usual, but the form of an online conference is selected. 5G in 2020 has attracted much attention, because the industry generally believes that this will be a key point in the scale of construction and the rise of the 5G market.
Under the current epidemic situation, the 5G chip market is still hot, and new products have been released frequently in the past two weeks. On February 26, UNISOC released its next-generation 5G SoC chip, the Tiger Ben T7520. On the same day, Qualcomm released the Snapdragon XR2 platform and 8cx 5G chipset. On February 18, Qualcomm also released the third-generation 5G modem and RF system, the Snapdragon X60.
Yao Jiayang, an analyst at TrendForce, told the 21st Century Business Herald reporter: “In terms of 5G SoC performance, it can be divided into several levels: the processing performance of the CPU itself for applications, AI computing power, and the built-in 5G Modem (modem). These three parts will be the focus of competition among major manufacturers. Broadly speaking, comparing 5G SoC with 4G SoC, the performance of these three parts has been significantly improved. In 2020, major manufacturers will in principle It will also be strengthened with the performance of these three aspects.”
At the same time as the performance improvement, various companies have also accelerated the speed of commercial use of 5G chips. Qualcomm, Huawei, UNISOC, Samsung, and MediaTek 5G chips have all been commercialized on mobile phones.
A new round of 5G chip competition
At present, the companies that have launched 5G baseband chips for mobile phones are Huawei, Qualcomm, Samsung, MediaTek and Ziguang Zhanrui. In addition to Qualcomm, the other four have launched 5G SoC chips with integrated baseband chips.
Among them, 5G baseband chips include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50, Snapdragon X55, and the newly released X60; Huawei’s Balong5G01, Balong5000; UNISOC’s Ivy V510, MediaTek’s Helio M70, Exynos Modem 5100, etc.
The released 5G SoC chips mainly include Huawei Kirin 990; Samsung Exynos 980, Exynos 990; MediaTek Dimensity 1000, Dimensity 800; UNISOC T7520, T7510.
The latest products are Qualcomm’s X60 and UNISOC’s Tiger Ben T7520.
Ziguang Zhanrui said that the Tiger Ben T7520 is the second-generation 5G smartphone platform of Ziguang Zhanrui. It adopts the 6nm EUV process technology. While the performance is improved, the power consumption has reached a new low. At the same time, the Tiger Ben T7520 supports full scene coverage, supports 5G NR TDD+FDD carrier aggregation, and uplink and downlink decoupling technology, which can improve the coverage by more than 100%. It supports Sub-6GHz frequency band and NSA/SA dual-module network, and also supports 2G to 5G seven-mode full Netcom. In SA mode, the downlink peak rate exceeds 3.25Gbps.
Yao Jiayang analyzed to reporters: “Because this processor adopts TSMC’s 6nm EUV process, it is the first 5G SoC in the industry to adopt this process. At least it can be confirmed that UNISOC can catch up with the advanced process. The footsteps of major manufacturers such as Qualcomm and Huawei. However, judging from the current product planning of Huawei and Qualcomm, 5nm EUV should be the main focus, so although Ziguang Zhanrui has caught up with the footsteps of major manufacturers such as Qualcomm, it has to cooperate with Qualcomm and other major manufacturers. Together, it may take a while.”
He also said that from the perspective of the configuration of CPU and GPU and the combination of 6nm EUV and other specifications, Ziguang Zhanrui’s strategy should still focus on the mid-end and low-end markets. In addition, the specifications of 5G Modem still do not support mmWave. Look, the T7520 should be targeting the mid-range 5G mobile phone market in China.
Let’s look at the Qualcomm Snapdragon X60. According to reports, the Snapdragon X60 is the world’s first 5G baseband using the 5nm process and also the world’s first 5G baseband that supports the aggregation of all major channels and their combinations. The supported channels include millimeter wave and FDD and below 6GHz. TDD band. In terms of speed, the Snapdragon X60 can achieve download speeds of up to 7.5Gbps and upload speeds of up to 3Gbps. Compared with solutions that do not support carrier aggregation, carrier aggregation in the frequency band below 6 GHz in standalone mode can double the peak rate of 5G standalone networking.
Qualcomm said it plans to sample the Snapdragon X60 in the first quarter of 2020, while smartphones featuring the Snapdragon X60 are expected to launch in early 2021.
This year, Qualcomm’s commercial use of mobile phones is mainly based on X55 with baseband chips. Yao Jiayang told reporters: “From the perspective of the development of the 5G mobile phone market in 2020, there are processors and 5G Modem combination, and 5G SoC (integrated 5G Modem). ) These two, 865+x55 is just one of the combinations, like 765/765G will also be an important main 5G product of Qualcomm this year. Compared with X55, X60, strictly speaking, does not have much specification upgrades, which is roughly the process upgrades, and the introduction of mmWave and sub-6GHz carrier aggregation technologies.”
Commercial competition upgrade
On the one hand, the technology of 5G chips is being updated, Yao Jiayang told reporters: “In the long run, 5G chips will still develop towards an integrated route, and the plug-in method is currently a transitional approach. We believe that the development of 5G SoCs will lead to the development of 5G SoCs. Keep up with Qualcomm’s footsteps and try to integrate mmWave functions into 5G SoCs, while adopting more advanced manufacturing processes. If technology develops, 5G SoCs integrating 5G Modem should become mainstream in 2021.”
At the same time, manufacturers also mentioned more about the commercial situation and user experience at the press conference, and these chips are gradually moving towards the commercial use of mobile phones, CPE, PC and AR/VR.
Mobile phones are the most widely used terminals at present. So far, mobile phone manufacturers have launched more than ten 5G mobile phones. Ziguang Zhanrui also announced for the first time that its 5G chips will be installed in the Hisense F50 mobile phone, and Qualcomm is the most widely used in the Android industry.
The latest research report released by Strategy Analytics pointed out that by 2020, global 5G smartphone shipments will reach 199 million units. But the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak and a slowing global economy will limit 5G smartphone sales this year.
Ken Hyers, Director of Strategy Analytics, said: “Global 5G smartphone shipments will more than tenfold to 199 million units in 2020, up from 19 million in 2019. The 5G segment will be the fastest growing in the global smartphone industry this year. Part. Consumers expect faster 5G smartphones to experience richer content, such as videos or games. We forecast 5G penetration to grow from 1% of all global smartphone shipments in 2019 to 15% in 2020. “
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added: “The 5G smartphone market was much weaker than expected in the first half of 2020, but we expect the 5G smartphone market to rebound strongly in the second half if the outbreak is contained.”
In addition to mobile phones, Huawei, Zhanrui, etc. have launched CPE products, and Qualcomm also released the second-generation 5G chip platform in VR/AR glasses – Snapdragon XR2, and the 5G chipset used on ARM PC side – Snapdragon 8cx.
Yao Jiayang analyzed to reporters: “XR2 is a high-end product in Qualcomm’s positioning, and 8cx is also a high-end product in the 5G PC field. We believe that the development of the 5G market is still in its infancy. Commercial use, but the overall number is still relatively limited. We believe that the VR/AR and 5G PC markets are mature, and it is conservatively estimated that it may not be possible until 2021, when the consumer market gradually accepts the convenience brought by 5G. “
As the chips become more and more mature, who can finally reduce power consumption and costs faster, and successfully commercialize the card slot, becomes the first echelon, and it is also the focus of everyone’s attention in the 5G mobile era.
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