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CES 2020: Qualcomm spotlights new 5G laptop, autonomous driving platform

Qualcomm Inc. is pushing aggressively into 5G and autonomous driving.

At CES 2020, the Consumer Technology Association's annual technology and media trade show, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon said 5G smartphone shipments will total 200 million this year and increase to 750 million in 2022. Qualcomm also expects more than a billion 5G connections by 2023 and 2.8 billion connections by 2025.

5G is set to offer download speeds many times faster than the current 4G LTE wireless networks.

SNL ImageQualcomm at CES 2020
Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence

"2020 is the year we really expect 5G to scale, and it's moving faster than 4G, despite skepticism," Amon said.

Amon also noted that the "5G PC is now a reality," before introducing Johnson Jia, a senior vice president at Hong Kong-based computer manufacturer Lenovo Group Ltd. Jia unveiled the new Yoga 5G laptop-tablet hybrid, which will go on sale this spring with a starting price of $1,499. The device features a 14-inch display and includes Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8Cx processor and Adreno 680 graphics processing unit.

Perhaps the most exciting major technical innovation with the device is a 5G antenna system that supports 5G millimeter wave and sub-6GHz 5G networks, as well as LTE. According to Jia, the Yoga 5G, which runs on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 10 operating system, offers 24 hours of battery life on a single charge.

Amon also announced the company's new autonomous driving platform, dubbed Snapdragon Ride, which includes the hardware and software needed to help automakers turn their vehicles into self-driving cars. The platform supports driver assistance systems, such as lane-keeping, traffic sign recognition and automatic emergency braking, and can also tackle more advanced systems, including automated highway driving, self-parking and urban driving.

Snapdragon Ride will be available to automakers for predevelopment in the first half of 2020. Qualcomm anticipates vehicles running the platform will be in production by 2023.

In the autonomous vehicle space, Qualcomm will be competing with Intel Corp. and NVIDIA Corp., though Amon claimed that Snapdragon Ride is two times more efficient than its competitors' self-driving offerings.