Qualcomm pushes 5G tech into chips for cheaper phones

FILE PHOTO: Qualcomm and 5G logos are seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 26, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

(Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc on Tuesday said it is putting 5G technology into chips for smartphones that will sell for as little as $300 and that will come to market in the second half of this year.

San Diego-based Qualcomm is the biggest supplier of processors for smartphones and the modem chips that connect the phones to wireless data networks.

The company’s chips featuring fifth-generation (5G) cellular telecommunications technology are currently in many premium-priced smartphones such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy devices.

But Qualcomm has also been working to get the technology into cheaper devices. The new chip, called the Snapdragon 690, will go into devices that it expects to retail at $300 to $500, Qualcomm said. Phone makers such as HMD Global, the owner of the Nokia phone brand, LG Electronics Inc and Lenovo Group Ltd’s Motorola plan to use the chips, Qualcomm said.

The push into lower price points means higher volumes for Qualcomm. According to data from Counterpoint Research, smartphones with wholesales prices of $100 to $400, which are somewhat lower than the prices consumers pay, made up about 50% of the overall smartphone market in the first quarter of 2020.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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