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The launch of the Qualcomm SD690 5G SoC (System on a Chip) brings 5G to the smart phone mid-market.

Until now Qualcomm 5G Gen 2 modems were only in the 2020 SD865 flagship (which means prices around $1500+) and the SD 765/768 mid-range (which means prices around $999+).

The Qualcomm SD690 5G is for smartphones in the $599+ market. Already companies, including HMD Global (Nokia), LG Electronics, Motorola, OPPO/realme/vivo, and TCL have expressed their interest and will produce phones in the coming months. Qualcomm expects over 1800 models to use the chip.

Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated said of the Qualcomm SD690 5G

“There are over 375 5G designs using Qualcomm Technologies’ current 5G solution. It is driving the proliferation of 5G across multiple [market] tiers to make the next generation of camera, artificial intelligence, and gaming experiences more broadly available.”

The Qualcomm website is here. Here is a summary.

  • Based on Qualcomm 8nm Kryo 560 A77 2Ghz ARM cores
  • Max ram 8GB
  • Adreno 619L GPU
  • 5th Gen AI Engine for security, voice, and camera – including intuitive social media filters and seamless transitioning between lenses.
  • X51 Modem and RF system – programmable support for sub-6GHz and mmWave, NSA/SA and global 5G multi-SIM. DL/UL 2500/660Mbps
  • Supports 4K HDR/HDR`0/+ video
  • Supports FHD+ (1080p) 120Hz up to 10-bit/1 billion colours displays and downscale 4K content to screen res
  • Wi-Fi AX 2×2 MU-MIMO and new FastConnect 6200 System
  • Up to 192MP camera combos
  • BT 5.1 with aptX Adaptive codec
  • Dual Frequency GPS
  • Quick Charge 4+
  • USB-C with ALT DP
Qualcomm SD690 5G

GadgetGuy’s take – Why is Qualcomm SD690 5G important?

Simple – most will not spend over $1000 for a smartphone.  

  1. Flagship $1000+2599 (account for about 10% of sales)
  2. Premium mid-market $800-999 (10% and often last year’s flagship at run-out price)
  3. Mid-market $500-799 (about 25% of the market)
  4. Mass-market $200-499 (about 25% of the market)
  5. Value pre-paid <A$199 (about 30% of the market – good for pre-paid and children)

Qualcomm now has proven 5G SoCs in three segments (SD865, SD765 and SD690) covering 45% of the market. And as you spend more, you expect Qualcomm inside over other brands of SoC.

What this does is lessen the price gap between 4G and 5G handsets, making it no brainer for adoption. Just as 4K TVs killed 1080p once the price was the same! Now don’t be surprised if we see an announcement for an SD5XX 5G SoC soon.

Below that lower cost smartphones can’t afford to have the memory or processing power needed for 5G.

5G Coverage
Current or proposed 5G coverage

Qualcomm’s SD765/768 5G chip details are here.