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Qualcomm unveils first 5G smartphone prototype at Snapdragon summit

“We are months away from launching 5G.”

Addressing a crowd of experts and journalists at the Snapdragon Technology Summit, Qualcomm (QCOM) President Cristiano Amon made the statement that the tech world has been keenly awaiting. As an add-on, Amon also unveiled a prototype version of the first 5G smartphone to showcase the benefits of the network.

The reference handset was, however, not available for the crowd to test.

Qualcomm snapdragon summit launch of 5G smartphone prototype
Image: Qualcomm/Twitter

Qualcomm’s network partners AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ), as well as device partner Samsung Electronics, were part of the event held in Maui, Hawaii on Tuesday.

The prototype was powered by Qualcomm’s 5G-integrated flagship processor, Snapdragon 855, which the company launched at the summit. The system-on-a-chip (SoC) processor promises “multi-gigabit” download speeds and much higher responsiveness. In short, connectivity will be faster than anything that is available today.

The Snapdragon summit also saw demonstrations of 5G networks by Verizon and AT&T, besides a 5G handset prototype by Samsung.

The faster network will also enable advanced applications – that make use of artificial intelligence or augmented reality – load and work much faster. With the rising integration of smart applications to home appliances and automobiles, 5G networks are set to make inter-device communication much more efficient.

Faster networks come with bigger challenges as 5G era sets in

Setting all the enthusiasm aside, one cannot expect the 5G technology to hit their neighborhood immediately. Carriers will be rolling out the network region-wise, with the bigger cities getting a higher preference over rural outskirts. Various carriers have already listed out the regions where they expect to roll out the network in the initial phase.

Meanwhile, handset makers – including Samsung and One Plus – are in a race to outshine rivals in taking the first 5G-enabled smartphone to the market.


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