A modified version of the Android-powered OPPO R15 smartphone has been showcased in the Chinese manufacturer’s home country earlier this week, with the unit in question featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem and hence being compatible with the 3GPP’s 5G New Radio. The telecommunications standard is still being finalized and OPPO’s latest test utilized its Release 15 specification completed in late 2017. The configuration in question is of the non-standalone variety, meaning it relies on 4G LTE infrastructure modified to allow for faster data transfer rates and lower latencies.
OPPO described the test as the latest step in its efforts to commercialize 5G Android smartphones in 2019. The prototype device can be seen in the gallery below, though OPPO’s first consumer-grade 5G handset is likely to feature a more contemporary look and be advertised as a traditional flagship. With the company’s mobile 5G tests all including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem, the chances of its first 5G phone using the Snapdragon 855 are extremely high. The Snapdragon 845 may also be advertised as the Snapdragon 8150, recent reports indicate, with Qualcomm possibly looking to rename its upcoming smartphone chip so as to avoid confusion between its handset and notebook series of high-end silicon. The SoC is likely to ship with the Snapdragon X24 modem out of the box as Qualcomm already confirmed X50 integration will be optional, presumably so as to provide manufacturers with more flexibility in regards to whether they want to invest extra resources into delivering 5G handsets the early days of the new connectivity standard that’s still likely to take years until its availability becomes truly global.
While OPPO doesn’t tout its 5G research and development efforts as often as some other Android OEMs do, the BBK Electronics-owned company has been doing what it can to remain on the bleeding edge of the telecom revolution over the last several years. This April, the firm established a new R&D institute with several Chinese offices, all of which are focused on 5G and artificial intelligence. A month later, OPPO completed the world’s first 5G-powered 3D video call and suggested its first 5G-ready smartphone will launch in mid-2019.