Author: Yue Ming
Since June this year, Qualcomm has had a rough time at home.
First of all, the dispute between true and false 5G of SA/NSA, and then the discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of 5G SoC and separated devices. The competing partners gave the market too much information, but also brought a lot of pressure to Qualcomm and most terminal manufacturers, and even opened the press conference to Qualcomm.
However, it is different that 865 still adopts the separation mode, the external X55 base-band processor, and the dragon 765/ 765G mobile platform is integrated with the 5G connection instead. It is difficult to accept and understand in many people. The highest-end flagship product platform, instead of
Qualcomm's strength is fine
5g SOC really has a high technical threshold, but for Qualcomm, it is not very difficult.
Qualcomm's embarrassment lies not in technology, but in its industrial status. If we look at the longer historical cycle, the path of Qualcomm's rise is one of the original CDMA technology, the other is the high integration, which greatly reduces the various separation chips and devices needed in the mobile phone, lowers the threshold of industrial entry, and ultimately
In the 4G era, Qualcomm has become a true industry leader.
We take T-Mobile USA as an example. It is not a mainstream operator, and the number of users cannot be compared with domestic operators. Due to the relationship of spectrum, it can only deploy 5g on 600MHz. This is a very small market, very narrow demand, other chip manufacturers will do it? No, because we can't understand the future and increase the cost, but Qualcomm has to do it. At present, only one plus and Samsung each have a product that supports a 600MHz 5g network. Samsung has its own 5g chip, but it will not do it. Instead, it adopts a Qualcomm solution.
As for the front-end time hot discussion of NSA and SA, because in Qualcomm's view, both based on the 3GPP standard are
The launch of 765 / 765G platform also shows that Qualcomm's technical strength (dual-mode, full band) is beyond doubt. However, Qualcomm needs to choose a suitable time node to launch the product and assist mobile phone manufacturers to achieve large-scale shipment. Judging from the launch time of new products announced by Xiaomi and oppo executives on site, they have already got chip products earlier.
Integration and separation cannot be absolute
Indeed, the IC industry has been moving towards integration, because high integration will bring better cost, performance and low power consumption.
But this is not absolute. Because, we need to understand the application scenario requirements of the chip, understand the manufacturing process and process technology under the current industrial environment, and choose the most appropriate way. Give end users the best choice in terms of performance and experience.
Taking the Xiaolong 865 platform as an example, it did not adopt the SOC mode commonly used by friends, but chose the external x55 baseband mode to separate the main chip and baseband. What does it do for? Meng Pu, chairman of Qualcomm China, said in an on-site media interview that it was mainly due to the consideration of the best system performance.
The question is, how to understand the best system performance? From the perspective of the application scenario changes of mobile smart terminals, mobile phones are no longer just light applications such as making calls, watching videos, and brushing friend circles, but will carry more and more heavy loads. In other words, it is not only about connectivity, but also the performance of high-speed and reliable connections, that is, computing power. The best system performance is the combination of computing and connectivity for application scenarios. A good example of this is apple. For a long time, Apple has used the way of separating the main chip and baseband chip, but the user experience of apple is obvious to all.
It can be said that the separation design of Xiaolong 865 ensures the best combination of connection and calculation. If there is a major breakthrough in chip packaging and process technology, it is inevitable that Qualcomm's flagship solution will move to SOC again, but it will not at present.
Enlarge the existing advantages, and the delivery quantity is the fundamental
The highlight of this press conference is not only the 865 and 765 / 765G platforms. In my opinion, for Qualcomm, snapdragon 865 and 765 modular platforms may be more valuable.
Based on the end-to-end strategy, these two modular platforms are designed to provide the industry with the tools needed to easily realize 5g large-scale deployment, help customers reduce development costs, and more quickly launch smart phones and Internet of things terminals with new industrial design. Verizon and Vodafone are among the first operators to announce support for the snapdragon modular platform certification program, and more operators are expected to join the program in 2020.
In my opinion, this is Qualcomm's real advantage in the 5g era, that is, the integrity of solutions. In 5g smart phones, in addition to the main chip and baseband chip, the value of RF and RF front-end can not be ignored. First of all, the technical development path of multi band, multi system and multi antenna has greatly improved the market capacity, and the money prospect is very considerable; at the same time, it has also greatly increased the technical difficulty, and the threshold for new entrants to the market is very high, which can maintain a reasonable profit space for a long time.
Qualcomm's advantage lies in integration. By integrating baseband chip and RF, it reduces the threshold, and also helps the whole machine manufacturers to produce and ship in large scale. Take Xiaomi as an example, more than 10 5g terminals will be launched next year, which is difficult to achieve without a mature and scalable overall solution.
For the industry chain, the most important thing at present is to eliminate interference and firm confidence. On the premise of ensuring user experience, rapidly expand the industry scale, which will be the key to determine the cost of 5g industry.