Perhaps you've just finally gotten your mobile devices all upgraded to the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard, and maybe Bluetooth 3.0 is enough to get you through the day. Qualcomm apparently has no intention of standing still, though. At Computex in Taiwan, Qualcomm has just demonstrated the first chip that will bring 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 to your next Android tablet. This is the chip first announced back in February, but now it's a real thing.


The Qualcomm Atheros WCN3680 will combine the 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio with Bluetooth 4.0 for low-power connectivity. To top it off, the chip will also have good old-fashioned FM radio. The new chip should be compatible with boards designed for Qualcomm's 802.11n chip, the WCN3660. It shouldn't take much work for OEMs to switch over to the new chip.

802.11ac is capable of 1.3Gbps data rates, but the mobile solution won't quite reach that threshold. The WCN3680 will pair with the Krait-based Snapdragon APQ8064 ARM application processor to deliver throughput up to 200Mbps on Android devices (assuming you have a 802.11ac network). Certified 802.11ac products should begin appearing in early 2013, but Qualcomm has already started sampling the chip to its OEM partners.


Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • fixxmyhead

    And I just got an 802.11 n router like 2 months ago for the first time in my life

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7GU4N7CVDBJXMZOBFO3DMIQZH4 J

    Will the tablet still be able to connect to an a/b/g network?  I'm a little behind the times & still running 802.11b (though I am seriously looking into upgrading in the not too distant future)...  

    • AndIThoughtIWasOldSk00l

       Youre not even on G? Wow! Is the router sitting next to your 56K modem and turntable? :)

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/7GU4N7CVDBJXMZOBFO3DMIQZH4 J

        Yeah, its a B network...  Hey, it gets the job done...  Though I think the router is starting to go...  The connection will seemingly randomly drop out every so often & the only way to fix it is to reboot the router.  Some times I'll be fine for days...  Sometimes it'll drop 2 or 3 times a night, sometimes moments after I sit back down from the trek out to reboot the router)...  Other times I might make a few days before I have to reboot...

        Just not sure if I want to upgrade to N, or put up with it for a few more months to see what gets released under AC...

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          Good ac routers aren't going to come out for a while, the spec isn't even finalized yet. Even when they do come out, none of your devices will have support for a while. The first hardware that comes out will be desktop and laptop expansion cards/dongles, followed by phones and laptops with built-in supor. If it turns out anything like the release of n, it will be about a year from the first routers come out until they are decent. They are also going to be far more expensive than they should be for the first couple of years, standard gouging practice. Just get a decent mid-range router for now and plan to use it for the next 18-30 months.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I'm not positive if it'll have support for a, but it should almost certainly support b/g/n since they were just predecessors and are generally included to keep people happy.  Backwards compatibility isn't "free" or guaranteed, it's just so cheap to keep it there and it becomes a customer service issue when it's not there.

      I would also recommend upgrading to n (or at least g) because it's more friendly to power consumption than b was.  There's also a tiny bump in speed as an incentive, too. ;)

      For reference (in case anybody is confused): the IEEE (the international standards body that manages, well, standards) ran out of single letters for the 802.11 family of protocols, so they've moved to using 2 letters.  802.11ac is based on 802.11n, so it's easy to make it backwards compatible.

      There's a video on youtube (ahh, here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6EHP3SAXKQ) made by Cisco, which explains in pretty animations and graphics exactly what 802.11ac is and how it's supposed to change everything while making your eggs for you in the morning.  Like normal, it's got a few bits of technical mis-information (what else would you expect from Cisco) and it crosses the line into mild propaganda, but it does paint a nice picture for what we're likely to be running within 2 years.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    I'm a little amazed that anybody would perpetuate the Atheros brand/tech.  I'm sure it'll function quite nicely, but several versions of the Atheros chips used in laptops are plagued with bugs, bad performance, and generally faulty.

  • Guest

    Wow... I could connect to my wi-fi at 200Mbps - 1300Mbps speeds!!!!
    And then connect to my home's 7-12Mbps Internet wired connection from there!

  • Guest

    As usual, android-police "forgot" to mention things like the new 5000 meter range.
    (Yes, 3.1 *MILES*)

    • http://twitter.com/romme Romme

      Any source on that?

  • http://www.labshab.com/ mohit kumar

    omg!!!! thanks a lot!!!