Android phones to get big connectivity upgrade in future after major reveal

Qualcomm Snapdragon X80 promises the next steps in 5G connectivity for the next-gen of Android phones coming soon

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra phones in use
(Image credit: Samsung)

Qualcomm reveals the Snapdragon X80, the first AI-enabled 5G modem to offer six carrier aggregation and fully integrated satellite comms (using non-terrestrial networks). The big reveal, made at the MWC 2024 show in Barcelona, represents a future of faster connectivity potential for flagship Android devices.

As the final week of February 2024 begins, so too do the doors open to a major mobile phone conference in Barcelona, Spain, called MWC 2024 (you can follow T3's live blog here for all the latest from the show). And to kick things off Qualcomm has made a major announcement that could see the future of the best Android phones receive a big connectivity upgrade. 

That's thanks to the reveal of the Snapdragon X80, a modem which delivers a number of new enhancements and firsts. This new chip, which is the seventh-generation in the company's line, is the first 5G modem to integrate satellite communications (using non-terrestrial networks (NTNs)). It's the first with six carrier aggregation across its six antenna architecture. And it's the first to integrate a dedicated 5G AI processor, leveraging artificial intelligence.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X80 modem

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm has been moving at pace in recent years to deliver notable improvements to the latest Android phones which adopt the company's chipset, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 the latest and greatest to be deployed in devices for 2024 – including the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (which features the previous Snapdragon X75 modem, so there's a clue as to where Samsung will be headed with its future flagship releases' internal hardware).

The introduction of the X80 modem could open up new features too. It was only in early 2023, out in the Las Vegas desert, that Qualcomm was demonstrating its  Snapdragon Satellite project, which the X80's 5G NTNs capability could leverage. Given Apple's success with Emergency SOS, it's about time Android had a viable version. 

Qualcomm AI Hub

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm's MWC 2024 announcements go some steps further, too, with its recently revealed Snapdragon X Elite platform looking to shake up the Windows laptop market when devices arrive this year. Such laptops could feature the also-just-announced FastConnect 7900 – "an AI-enhanced connectivity system integrating Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth, and UWB (ultra-wideband) in a single-chip," as per the company's press release – for top drawer speedy low-latency connectivity.

Artificial intelligence is also a big part of this picture, with Qualcomm's AI Hub reveal aiming to get third-party developers on board when it comes to creating new applications that utilise on-device AI. The hub will feature "a new library of 75+ pre-optimised AI models" to be used on Snapdragon platforms, the idea being to strengthen the appeal of Qualcomm's offerings. Pair those results with some super-fast connectivity from the new X80 modem and the future of Android and Windows looks even brighter. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor and AV Editor at He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.