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Apple is right: 2019 will be too early to buy a 5G phone

This week saw the hype for 5G, the creatively titled successor to 4G mobile Internet connectivity, brought to a simmering boil when Qualcomm, AT & T, Verizon and Samsung babbled a series of launch plans early next year. While Apple reportedly endures the technology at least until 2020. As much as I like the excitement surrounding the introduction of the new wireless standard, I tend to think that Apple is right: none of us should factoring 5G into our phone purchases next year.

It's not that 5G is not promising. Samsung today released a press release stating that a combination of Verizon spectrum and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem delivered 1

.7 Gbps throughput. This is the best case, but even Qualcomm's real-world modeling suggests a still-impressive jump to speeds of about 490 Mbps, an order of magnitude better than today's 4G LTE networks, which typically connect from about 20 Mbps to 50 Mbps offer. 19659003] But note the circumstances here: Both Samsung and Qualcomm tell us about their lab results. So far, no vendor or manufacturer with 5G devices in the cities on the road and provides us with real measurements. At Qualcomm's big 5G get-together in Hawaii, my colleague Sean Hollister was shown yesterday only a Samsung 5G phone he was not allowed to touch, a 5G moto-mod and a few chunky 5G hotspots, and none of these devices pointed Speeds of more than 140 Mbps.

Verizon's 5G hotspot is not small.
Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Everyone on the Limit The demonstrations in Hawaii had the same excuse: the test 5G network was put together in a hurry by Ericsson, and the actual devices and the "tuned and optimized" (in the words of Chris Emmons, the Verizon architecture director), the US network deployment will actually deliver multi-gigabit speeds. Will .

Apart from the fact that 5G is more of a recipe than a fully cooked dish, 5G also has a particularly disgusting aspect. Its fastest speeds are from millimeter-wave air waves called mmWave. Verizon has 28 GHz and AT & T operates at 39 GHz. Anyone who has ever tried the failed LTE rival WiMAX knows the biggest problem with these high-frequency transmissions: they struggle to penetrate walls or other physical obstacles. Gordon Mansfield, Vice President of Converged Access and AT & T, says the fallback of 5G with a lower frequency range below 6 GHz will happen, but "the silicon that supports this FDD spectrum will not be available until later in 2019". T from AT & T equipment technology.

Simply put, the first 5G devices will spend a lot of time of their time in 4G LTE networks, as this is the most compatible and available element they need to connect to.

Motorola's 5G Moto-Mod.
Photo by Natt Garun / The Verge

Even if you encounter a vein of ridiculous 5G gears in your area, you'll quickly find that you do not have all that much you can not do with 4G yet can. The earlier transition from 3G to 4G unlocked some mobile app and service use cases, such as saving your photos in the cloud or streaming your music instead of downloading it – which urgently needed more bandwidth. In Hawaii, the 5G supporters introduced a streaming virtual reality demo this week, but VR is another technology that is constantly evolving to look for a truly compelling application. If Nintendo did not develop an impressive VR game or other high-bandwidth interactive experience in 2019, 5G's near future will be costly and costly.

5G in 2019 will face many of the same hurdles that 4G 2011 had to overcome. Initially, the new networks will have limited geographic coverage, and the silicon needed to connect to them is still far away from energy or space as the now mature 4G tech. The first impression you get from the new edge of the technology is a fast-exhausted battery on a device that's stronger than usual. (Seriously, there are PCs smaller than Verizon "Puck" above, and AT & T's 5G hotspot is no smaller.) I would like to think that the mobile industry is smart enough to make the mistake that The HTC ThunderBolt 2011 poster was not a repeat kid for a phone that has 4G added too fast and has paid the price in suboptimal battery life and design – but I am not sure that many phone manufacturers will have the choice.

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

Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi both announced they would offer a 5G phone in 2019, while OnePlus even promised to have the first 5G phone in Europe. In the hotly contested area of ​​Android smartphones, you either copy Apple for free or track the status of achieving a technical breakthrough, whether it's notch-free or foldable displays, on-screen fingerprint scanners, or now 5G. Discrete features of this kind are great selling points for manufacturers. Whether network or chip technology exists or not, when one company goes into battle, everyone else must inevitably follow.

Only Apple has proven to be (partially) immune to the ruthless pursuit of new features and specifications, having already been the mess of horrific 4G phones in 2011 before he released his first 4G iPhone the following year. The luxury of Apple's continued customer loyalty enables the company to skip the bloodbath of developing products and deliver a refined product only when the time is right. On this occasion, Apple is also limited by its relationships: With the 5G leader Qualcomm it is bad, and his partner Intel will not provide 5G modems before 2020. Whether Apple is reasonable or limited only by circumstances, this is the first 5G device is a long way.

I do not doubt that 5G will make a huge leap in mobile connectivity that can only be achieved by our insatiable, irrational hunger for more speed and bandwidth. But we will only get an insight into this future in 2019, and I do not think these insights will be worth paying for. Next year, network operators such as AT & T and Verizon, as well as phone manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei, will find ways to optimize their equipment, maximize their reach, and harmonize the various wireless components under the 5G brand. As soon as this work is completed, I will gladly revise my recommendation and invite everyone to join the 5G hype train. Not yet.

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