Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report) believes new technologies related to 5G networks will help build a more connected world, spanning across areas such as the Internet of Things, virtual reality and connected cars.
As part of a keynote address at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, the chipmaker's CEO Steve Mollenkopf on Friday detailed the company's ongoing projects and future roles in the '5G future,' starting with the Snapdragon 835. The processor, first announced last November, promises to be faster, more efficient and thinner than its predecessor, while eating up less battery power. Its 10 nanometer circuitry has a transistor that's about 7500 times smaller than a strand of hair, Mollenkopf explained.
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The Snapdragon 835, which is expected to be in devices by the first half of 2017, will make downloading, streaming and overall connectivity faster and smoother on 5G networks, Mollenkopf said. The component that makes this possible is the Snapdragon 835's X16 modem, which supports Gigabit-class LTE, a wireless technology that can handle speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.
"We're bringing a fiber-like experience to a wireless connection," Mollenkopf added.
That same technology will also make the mobile virtual reality experience feel more life-like and immersive, Mollenkopf explained. Developments in 5G networks could soon make it so that VR content will allow for playback as fast as 120 frames per second, compared to the current rate of 60 frames per second, making for higher video resolution on mobile devices.
Mollenkopf then went on to detail Qualcomm's efforts in using 5G technology to build out the Internet of Things, allowing everyday devices to send and receive data. The Santa Clara, CA-based company has partnered with Dutch technology company Phillips (PHG - Get Report) on connected medical devices that can track a patient's condition, measure certain vitals and transfer that data to a cloud-based data collection system.
Physicians can then use that data to monitor a patient's health, generate predictive insights and even notify them of heightened risks to their health. The companies argue that such technology can be used to intervene and prevent life-threatening medical situations, such as a stroke.
Qualcomm's processors are also being used to power advanced drone technologies that provide them with machine learning and flight control capabilities. Mollenkopf envisions Qualcomm's processors being used on industrial-grade drones that are used to conduct search and rescue operations or delivering medicine to an emergency area.
"5G will be critical to making this happen," he noted. "More secure, reliable cellular connectivity will allow for coordinated operations, enabling a growing set of use cases within and beyond an operator's line of sight."
Mollenkopf closed out the discussion by detailing the chipmaker's involvement in connected cars. Connectivity technology has caused the auto industry to reach a "major inflection point," he said.
Qualcomm is working with Volkswagen to develop connected car technology, integrating its modems into the German automaker's infotainment system. Volkmar Tanneberger, Volkswagen's executive director of electrics and electronics development, said on Friday that cars equipped with Qualcomm modems will become available in 2019.
Mollenkopf added that Qualcomm's planned $47 billion acquisition of Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductor (NXPI - Get Report) is likely to give it a leg up in developing technologies for the connected car market.
Qualcomm also said it's working with Audi, Ericsson and other companies to test vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, connectivity.
A slew of automakers have announced partnerships with technology companies on autonomous or connected car initiatives at CES. BMW (BMWYY) , Intel (INTC - Get Report) and Mobileye (MBLY) announced a partnership on Tuesday, while Honda Motors (HMC - Get Report) is in talks to partner with Waymo, the self-driving car arm of Alphabet's (GOOGL - Get Report) Google unit.