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5G, Are You There?

If the Consumer Electronics Show was the be-all and end-all for gadgetry, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is the Godfather conference for all things mobile technology.

This year’s expo gave us glimpses of eye-catching devices such as foldable phones, offered previews of 5G, while throwing quirky gadgets like a flexible smartwatch-phone into the mix. The show had umpteen technology brands pulling out the latest marvels from their sleeves, showing us what we can expect to be the tech theme during the next few months.

We’ve got to say, while everything is worth your attention, there are some themes and specific announcements worth a double-take.

Challenging the norm

We have been hearing about this latest iteration of mobile connectivity standard for a while now, and it seemed that stakeholders, from device manufacturers to network carriers to chipset makers, were all geared up for the big push.

The technology is mainly known for better connectivity and reach rather than just faster speeds over 4G. Though it is clearly early days for the fifth generation of mobile internet, the show saw plenty of announcements around it.

And with the country still complaining about some 4G connections acting like 2G, what is the potential performance when this barrels into Indian markets? The real hype around MWC was for foldable smartphones.

Despite there not being a strong demand for such a form factor just yet, a lot of big names in the industry seemed to have made up their mind that this is to be one of the bigger features from here on. Such devices will challenge portability and ergonomics standards in mobile tech.

So, take a long look at your phone now… are you ready for some big changes? Or are you going to play it safe with the traditional smartphones which get better across various price segments every year?

Here’s what MWC offered, in short:

Dual-screen wonders

Xiaomi showcased its already-announced Mi Mix 3 that’s priced at around 600 Euros, to be available in blue and black colour options later this year. Another Korean name, LG, joined the 5G wagon with its new V50 ThinQ Android phone.

The device carries a 4,000 mAh battery and a noticeable 5G logo on the back, so, you know, you don’t miss that it’s a 5G phone. LG will also be offering a second 6.2-inch OLED screen as an accessory that can be attached to the V50 ThinQ; it can be used to view more applications at once, as a game controller, and so on.

Samsung gets sexier

Samsung, once again among the headline-grabbers, showcased its new Galaxy Fold, which is a foldable Android device that folds like a regular folder, but with thicker hinges in the middle.

When unfolded, the Fold sports a 7.3-inch screen, while the folded mode gives you 4.6 inches of screen size. The company is rumoured to market this product as a limited edition, priced at $1,980, to be available in about two months. Though they’re going to be available in the market, it would be interesting to see how soon consumers adapt to it (if at all) over traditional smartphones.

For efficiency

Huawei, not a name to leave behind when it comes to new technology, showcased its new Mate X, which is a foldable 5G smartphone equipped with the company’s latest Kirin 980 SoC. The Mate X is a foldable phone with a screen that folds inwards, giving you dual displays, measuring 5.4mm thick when folded (11mm otherwise).

When not folded, it looks like any other tablet. Not everything is chipper about it; the device will carry a price tag of… wait for it… $2,300 — and it’s not going on sale soon.

Qualcomm quality

Qualcomm announced a new chip with an integrated 5G model for mobile devices that should be out by next year. OnePlus showed a prototype that was powered by the Snapdragon 855 with 5G, but not much details or release cycle was provided by the company.

Their latest chipset, Snapdragon 855, already supports 5G… though not every device that’s fitted with one should have 5G, they need to have its X50 modem bundled with the chipset in order to function.―The Hindu

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