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Home / Technology / Apple is right: 2019 gets premature to buy a 5G phone

Apple is right: 2019 gets premature to buy a 5G phone

This week has seen the 5G sprayer, the creatively named sequel to 4G mobile Internet connectivity, going from a booth like Qualcomm, AT & T, Verizon and Samsung rattled of a series of launch plans early next year, while Apple was reported to sit out technology for at least 2020. As much as I love the excitement of introducing the new mobile networking standard, I'm inclined to believe that Apple is right: neither of us should be factoring 5G into our phone purchases in the coming year.

It's not that 5G is hugely promising. Samsung has today issued a press release saying it has achieved a 1

.7 Gbps throughput with a combination of Verizon's spectrum and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem. It's the best scenario, but even Qualcomm's real modeling suggests a still impressive jump to speeds of around 490 Mbps, a size enhancement from the 4G LTE networks we currently have, which usually offers connections of around 20 Mbps to 50 Mbps. 19659003] But be aware of the circumstances here: both Samsung and Qualcomm tell us about their laboratory results. No carrier or manufacturer walks around cities with actual 5G devices and gives us real-life measurements. At Qualcomm's big 5G meeting in Hawaii yesterday, my colleague Sean Hollister was shown only a Samsung 5G phone, which he was not allowed to touch, a 5G Moto Mod, and a few slim 5G mobile hotspots, and none of [19659003] Verizon 5G hot spot is not small. Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Each participant in the limited Hawaii demonstrations had the same excuse: the test 5G network was put in a hurry by Ericsson, and the actual devices and "tuned and optimized" the words of Verizon Director of Architecture Chris Emmons) The US network deployment will actually deliver multi-gigabit speeds. Will .

In addition to being more a recipe than a fully cooked dish, the 5G also has a particularly unpleasant aspect. Its fastest speed comes from airwaves in the millimeter wave frequency range, which has been called mmWave. Verizon has 28 GHz, and AT & T operates at 39 GHz. Anyone who has ever tried the failed LTE rival who was WiMAX knows the biggest problem with these high-frequency transmissions: they struggle to penetrate walls or other physical obstacles. Lower frequency fallback, sub-6GHz 5G will happen, but we say, but the silicon that supports the FDD spectrum will not be available until later in 2019, according to Gordon Mansfield, AT & Ts VP for Converged Access and Device Technology.

To put it simple, the first 5G devices will spend a lot of their time on 4G LTE networks because it is the most compatible and available thing they need to connect.

Motorola's 5G Moto Mod.
Evening when you beat a ridiculous speed 5G near you, you will quickly find out that you do not have all that you can do with the 4G not already able to handle . The previous move from 3G to 4G unlocked any usage cases for mobile apps and services – for example, saving your photos in the cloud or streaming your music instead of downloading it – desperately waiting for more bandwidth. In Hawaii this week, the 5G lawyers showed a virtual virtual reality demo, but VR is yet another piece of technology that is still evolving and searching for a truly convincing application. Without anyone like Nintendo creating a fantastic VR game or another high-bandwidth experience in 2019, 5G's futuristic future will be one of the high costs of small reward.

5G in 2019 will face many of the same obstacles that 4G had to overcome in 2011. The new networks will have little geographic coverage to begin with, and the silicon required to connect to them, will not be near as energy or space-efficient as the now mature 4G technology. So the first flavor you get from the new flavor in tech will be a fast-paced battery on a steakhouse than the standard device. (Seriously, PCs are smaller than Verizon "puck" above and AT & Ts 5G spot is no less.) I'd like to think the mobile industry is smart enough not to repeat the mistake that was HTC ThunderBolt – 2011 poster child for one phone that has added 4G too fast and paid the price in suboptimal battery life and design – but I'm not sure many phone manufacturers will have the freedom to choose.

Samsung's 5G demo device.
Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi have each signaled their intention to offer a 5G phone in 2019, while OnePlus itself has gone so far as promising it will get the first 5G phone in Europe. In the hypermarketing world of Android smartphones, you either copy Apple, or you pursue the status of getting a tech first, whether it's real or collapsible, fingerprint scanners on the screen, or reaching 5G. Discrete features of this type are major sales arguments for manufacturers, so if network or chip technology is there or not, when a company jumps into the freight, everybody else must inevitably follow.

Only Apple has been shown (in part) to be immune to the reckless pursuit of new features and specifications. After switching off the 2011 mess of terrible 4G phones, before launching their first 4G iPhone the following year. The listen to Apple's lasting customer loyalty allows the company to skip the bloodbath of development products and deliver only a refined clock. For this reason, Apple is also limited by its relationships: it's bad with the 5G leader Qualcomm, and its partner Intel will not have 5G modems ready by 2020. So, if this is Apple to be sensible or just limited by relationship, First 5G The unit is far away.

I do not doubt that 5G will be a huge leap forward in mobile connection, to be matched only by our unsustainable, irrational hunger for greater speed and bandwidth. But we only get a glimpse of the future in 2019, and I do not think the glitters will be worth paying for. Over the coming year, operators like AT & T and Verizon and phone makers like Samsung and Huawei will figure out how to optimize their equipment, maximize coverage, and harmonize the different wireless components underneath the "5G" banner. When the job is done, I would like to revise my recommendation and encourage everyone to embark on the 5G hype train. Just not yet.

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