One small step for mobile connectivity, one giant leap for mankind
Lewis Hamilton v Sebastian Vettel, Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France; we’ve seen some great races over the past year. But the latest battle in the Tech Wars is the race to launch the first 5G smartphone.
Samsung got us all talking as it is expected to be the first after Verizon announced plans to launch a device in North America in 2019. The company will be keen to be first after it got pipped to the post with a foldable screen.
OnePlus teased a few tweets about the OnePlus 7 device coming next year before choosing to announce the first UK 5G phone with EE. This is great news for EE who continues to be the network front runner following its trial in October in Canary Warf. But the bad news is it will likely bump up the price of devices. This could change things for fans of the affordable mid-range phone. It could also make the mid-range market even more competitive.
At the top end of the spectrum, Apple may leave it until 2020 before it releases any 5G enabled phone. This could be a smart move, after ironing out any kinks before it offers it to its customers. This isn’t the first time it’s preferred to let the ‘pawns’ go first so it’s not too surprising.
What will 5G mean for users?
Well first up, we’ll all need to get new phones with the right chip in it to be able to access rapid speeds. We’ll have to pay for the privilege too.
The privilege of have 5G will mean better connectivity. More of us now walk around our homes talking to Alexa or Google and look to smart tech to make home life more efficient. This is great for the increasing demands we are putting on smart homes; from lighting to heating to doorbells and blinds.
It can also influence the development of smart cities, connecting lights, vehicles, buildings, wearables etc. More speed is on the cards, but the reality of changing workloads will mean we will have to wait and see what happens.
Enhanced gaming experiences will increase – especially for the likes of Pokémon Go. Now that the connectivity is there, will it provide the foundation for more AR/VR games? We reckon so.
A notable improvement is also expected when it comes to streaming and downloading. We are streaming more content than before on mobile devices. From that Spotify mash up to our favourite binge-worthy box sets, we are consuming more and more content on the go. If we must wait even 30 seconds for something to load, fury sets in. We want our content and we want it at our fingertips now. 5G can meet our demands.
Where one mobile phone ventures, others will follow, as trends become non-negotiable expectations. This year was all about screen size ration, who could have the biggest screen and smallest notch? After a stagnant year of phone development and growth (reflected in sales) and prices hiking up, this could be the new feature to kick start interest again and make the price tag more worthwhile.
2019 could be the year of 5G. Watch this space.