Your next smartwatch could have a 5G connection thanks to Snapdragon X35

Designed to be smaller and more efficient, to connect the next-gen of 5G devices.


The demand for connected devices is only increasing and Qualcomm has a potential solution for smaller and more affordable connectivity in the Snapdragon X35.

This modem is designed to allow a 5G connection for devices that have a lower demand than something like a smartphone. It enables a different type of 5G called 5G NR-Light, which it aimed at things like smartwatches, smart glasses or connected cameras, for example.


These types of devices often don’t have the throughput demands that a smartphone or laptop might, meaning that you can get them connected to the 5G network more efficiently using NR-Light – and that might mean that future devices (around 2024), could be using the Snapdragon X35 for connectivity.

One of the advantages of moving over to 5G NR-Light is that it helps the move from older LTE CAT4+ and will increase the rate of transition to 5G. This new tier of 5G is known as “reduced capability (RedCap)” and it is highly optimised. Essentially, it means that manufacturers don’t have to equip devices with a full-fat 5G modem, supporting capabilities way beyond the demands of the device they are being incorporated into.

So while the X35 is 5G, it might not immediately be associated with the trends that 5G is known for, and that’s out-and-out speed. Instead this is about optimisation and efficiency, reducing the transmit power needed reducing the hardware size and allowing manufacturers more freedom when it comes to product design.

The Snapdragon X35 is the first 5G NR-Light modem, so this is the start of the story for this new tier of 5G and this new hardware. It’s going out for sampling with manufacturers, but it could result in many more 5G connected devices in smaller formats in the coming years.

“The world’s first 5G NR-Light modem features a cost-effective, streamlined design with leading power efficiency, optimized thermal, and reduced footprint. Snapdragon X35 is poised to power the next wave of connected intelligent edge devices and empower a wide spectrum of uses. We look forward to working with industry leaders to unleash what’s possible with a unified 5G platform,” said Durga Mallai, SVP and GM of cellular modems at Qualcomm.