Samsung unveiled Wednesday a brand new smartphone component that will soon equip the Galaxy phones. It’s unclear at the moment what Samsung devices will get the new chip next year, but this is a smartphone part that Apple does not have for the iPhone, and that could offer a marketing advantage interesting to Samsung for at least a year.
This is the Exynos 5G 5100 5G chip that will equip Samsung’s first handset 5G next year. We already know from Samsung that the first Galaxy phone to offer 5G support next year will not be the Galaxy S10, but we have no idea what it is supposed to be. It is likely that the launch of Galaxy’s flagship products in the second half of 2019, as well as all future high-end Samsung phones and tablets, will support 5G support.
Apple, meanwhile, has to outsource 5G modems for iPhone from a third party, Intel and Qualcomm being probably the manufacturers of these components. Even Samsung may have to use Qualcomm modems in future 5G phones that will be powered by next-generation Qualcomm processors, such as the Snapdragon 855 which is expected to debut. The Exynos 5100 modem will likely be associated with Samsung’s next-generation Exynos chips.
Samsung said the Modem 5100 is the first 5G modem on the market that is “fully compatible with the third generation of partnership projects (3GPP) Release 15 (Rel.15), the most recent standard specification for the new 5G radio (5G-NR) “. The chip is built on 10 nm process technology and offers legacy radio support. Besides the 5G, the chip will also support the old standards, from the old 2G to the current 4G LTE, and that is exactly what we expect from 5G modems. It will take time before 5G support becomes widely available, so devices packing 5G chips will need to be able to connect to 4G networks.
In terms of performance, the 5100 modems should support speeds of up to 2 Gbps in settings below 6 GHz and up to 6 Gbps in mmWave settings. 4G LTE speeds also have a noticeable impact, going from 1.2 Gbps to 1.6 Gbps. It is, of course, theoretical speeds, so that the actual mileage can vary under real conditions.
Samsung says the 5G modem will be available to customers, including its mobile division by the end of 2018, but no real brand is mentioned.
While Samsung has already confirmed that it will launch a 5G phone next year, it is unlikely that the appearance of an iPhone 5G will be done next autumn, given what Apple has done in the past.