5G to ride on high-end phones by year end

March 7, 2019
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As the world continues to crave for the 5G connectivity, Qualcomm President, Cristiano Amon has predicted that by this holiday season or the Chinese New Year in early 2020, all major flagship phones will run 5G — and there may not even be an option to buy a high-end device without the new, super-fast connectivity.

“You’re going to see that for the 5G markets, if most of the carriers are rolling out 5G in those markets, you’re only going to have 5G flagships,” Amon said disclosed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

That differs from the strategy of the first crop of 5G phones arriving early this year. Most companies are offering one version of their flagship phones that run on the faster network, as well as other variants that only tap into 4G LTE and older networks.

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G is basically its 4G LTE-enabled Galaxy 10 Plus on steroids. And Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 5G is essentially the company’s 4G LTE Mi Mix 3 phone with an added 5G chip.

5G has long been touted as a game-changing technology, with the ability to dramatically boost the speed, coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks

It can run between 10 and 100 times faster than your typical cellular connection today, and even quicker than anything you can get with a physical fiber-optic cable going into your house.

But 5G’s rollout is just getting started. The first devices haven’t gone on sale yet, and most carriers haven’t turned on their 5G networks.

Most smartphone shoppers early this year likely will still opt for the 4G variants. But if you plan to hold onto your phone for two or three years, which is now typical of most buyers, you may want to spring for the 5G model from your preferred vendor.

Nearly all big Android handset makers will jump into 5G early this year. Essentially all of them, except for Huawei, will use Qualcomm’s 5G modems. Amon in December predicted that every major Android handset vendor will offer a 5G flagship phone by the holidays of 2019.

Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone vendor, unveiled its first 5G phone ahead of MWC during its unpacked event in San Francisco, and Oppo has talked up its first, not-yet-named 5G phone.

Huawei showed off its 5G Mate X foldable at MWC, and Xiaomi detailed its Mi Mix 3 5G. MWC also marked the debut of LG’s V50 and ZTE’s Axon 10 Pro, and Sony and OnePlus showed off prototypes for devices they’ll launch this year.

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