Qualcomm announces ‘tri-mode’ IoT chipset, support for Android Things

qualcomm qca4020 chipset - android things

In keeping with its 5G focus, Qualcomm has announced two innovations that support an important use case for the fifth generation: IoT.

The chipset maker announced the first commercial sampling of the QCA4020 SoC, the world’s first ‘tri-mode’ SoC that integrates Bluetooth LE 5, Dual-band Wi-Fi and 802.15.4 (think ZigBee), as well as its plans to support the Android Things OS on its Snapdragon 210 4G LTE processors with X5 LTE modems.

The QCA4020 is aimed at preventing IoT fragmentation in the house by enabling devices to communicate across different wireless standards, protocols and communication frameworks. Qualcomm also debuted the QCA4024, featuring just Bluetooth LE 5 and 802.15.4.

Both chipsets include pre-integrated support for HomeKit and the Open Connectivity Foundation specifications, and support for cloud services AWS IoT SDK and Microsoft Azure IoT Devices SDK. The dual-core ARM-based SoCs also feature a strong focus on security against IoT device attacks, with hardware-based security features and functions operating in a single integrated circuit.

The chipsets are now being sampled by manufacturers, with Qualcomm expecting commercial availability in the second half of 2017.

Meanwhile, the company says Snapdragon 210 processors will likely support the Android Things IoT operating system “later this year,” and will demonstrate it at Mobile World Congress from February 27th to March 2nd.

Qualcomm believes the 210 will be the world’s first commercial SoC to offer integrated 4G LTE support for Android Things, which is a version of Android designed for IoT devices. Like the QC4020, the integration promises a focus on security, ideal for solutions like payment machines and smart assistants.

The 210 processors allow for 4G LTE access to the Google Cloud Platform and Google services and supports Google Cast for Audio. Additionally, tasks like natural language processing and database queries can be performed on in the device itself rather than in the cloud which provides several benefits: improved responsiveness, lower data transfer costs and higher security.