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Image: Qualcomm

Even budget smartphones will start getting 5G support this year, with Qualcomm announcing today that devices running its new Snapdragon 480 chip will soon hit the market.

Why it matters: The 400 series is the company's lowest-end chip family and the inclusion of 5G is a sign that the technology will become the norm for new devices.

Of note: The new chip supports the fast-but-finicky millimeter-wave frequencies needed for the fastest 5G speeds. Many of last year's 5G phones supported only the more ubiquitous low-band 5G that offers only a modest speed boost over 4G.

  • The Snapdragon 480, first teased last year, also supports the use of up to three cameras simultaneously, a recognition of another big trend in smartphones: multiple lenses.

Yes, but: That doesn't mean that all new phones will support 5G in all its flavors, so it pays to look beyond the 5G label to make sure that a new phone gives you what you are looking for.

What's next: The first devices with this chip are expected early this year. Qualcomm's press release includes quotes from Chinese phone makers Oppo and Vivo, as well as HMD Global, which sells phones under the Nokia brand, so it's likely that those brands will be among the first to offer phones based on the chip.

Go deeper: Get up to speed with Axios' online Short Course on 5G

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jan 14, 2021 - Technology

Legacy chipmakers Intel and Qualcomm seek to seize back control

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Although most eyes were on the impeachment and other Washington goings-on, Wednesday was a big day for the chip industry, which produced a 10-figure deal and a major leadership shakeup.

The big picture: Legacy chip players Intel and Qualcomm have watched other companies eat into the business lines that got them where they are. They're now seeking to seize control of their own fates.

54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.