Mobile World Congress is a little more than a week away, and we’ll likely see new phones from companies including Samsung, Huawei, HMD (Nokia), and others, as well as other devices (Microsoft, for example, is expected to introduce its next-gen HoloLens mixed reality headset).

It’s likely that we’ll also hear a lot about 5G. Next-gen wireless networks won’t just be faster than 4G, but they’re also designed to be able to carry more bandwidth, allowing billions of devices to get online and communicate with one another constantly. That’s an important next step not just for smartphones, but for self-driving cars, internet-connected smart home appliances, and other IoT devices.

But it’s going to take a while for carriers to build out those networks. So while the first 5G phones are likely to go on sale this year, it’s not clear that you’ll actually get to take advantage of 5G networks everywhere you go.

That said, if you were wondering what LG’s first 5G smartphone would look like, now we have an answer, thanks to an image posted to Twitter by Evan Blass.

Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web:

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17 replies on “Lilbits 349: The 5G smartphones are coming”

  1. 5G! OMG it must be the absolute best! I mean, it is a whole number higher than 4G! It will be the best thing ever…until 6G comes out!
    Honestly I am glad progress is being made. In some countries this will actually be a big deal. In the US it is most likely mainly going to be used to increase profits of the carriers. I have a grey market phone without the proper US LTE frequencies. I still get enough speed to play Netflix at an enjoyable resolution. In a couple of years when I upgrade to a newer phone I am sure it will be 5G capable. Will I notice the difference? Probably not. It will just be the technology of the day. I am more concerned about things like timely security updates, headphone jacks, microSD card slots, and reparability.

  2. Yeah, as a consumer, I have much less excitement for 5G than I did for 4G/LTE. For me, the speed of LTE is more than fast enough. I get average speeds in the range of 40-60 Mbps down, 20-30 Mbps up and pings less than 30 ms.

    The only thing I can see 5G doing is potentially getting rid of “unlimited” limits and expensive plans in the US. However, I doubt carriers will be doing that so I’m not holding my breath.

    I feel the hype around 5G is mostly from OEMs’ and carriers’ marketing departments. Connected cars, health devices, IoT (never really was much of a thing) are just part of the marketing. Maybe in 10+ years those areas will reflect the advertisements.

    1. Even if it has benefits someday, the rollout will suck and most consumers should not be excited about it. During the 4g rollout, millions of people outside the perfect signal zones for new 4g areas had their phones constantly trying to acquire a patchy 4g signal, failing, but continuing to try over and over wrecking battery life. And while fixing that is a simple software fix (instructing the radio to stop trying to lock on to a crappy signal), I never saw any network or hardware manufacturer even acknowledge it, much less fix it, and I bet they still haven’t.

      I spent a couple years helping people turn off the 4g radio in their phones (often using field test menus) so they weren’t having to constantly plug in their phones everywhere they could just to get through the day with minimal use. With their phones forced to use 3g, problem was solved. Obviously once all towers are 5g, this won’t be an issue, but that could take years.

      It actually makes me mad when I see (other) blogs hyping up how exciting a time 5g rollout is with such uncritical gush. If some of them aren’t being paid directly by verizon to cheerlead, they should be.

      1. Yeah, I’m guessing there’s going to be a bunch of sites teaching folks “how to turn off 5G to increase battery life and connection stability” just like with the first few years of LTE. With current LTE performance and the usual consumers are beta testers type rollouts, consumers shouldn’t care about 5G for a long time.

    2. I honestly cannot see carriers dropping prices, if anything 5G gives them yet-another excuse to drive prices up to make up for the investment – there’s little use for a 5G network -today-, but everybody and their dead aunt will be forced to go 5G within ~5 years with new handsets and (likely) pricier plans.

      It’s the only business model they have, to force the purchase of new hardware fro a new standard and make customers follow the trend.

  3. The health implications of 5G are controversial to say the least. Much more so than all the previous mobile technologies. What are the technology’s benefit for consumers? I see this may be good for the industry players in some way, but for consumers?

    1. Wholeheartedly agree, you both echo my thoughts. There is nearly no palpable benefit (4g is plenty fast) for the public, it only benefits companies who want to bill governments to construct infrastructure and sell people phones with a higher number.

      The good thing is that public opinion seems like it is more cued-in on 5G perhaps, and hopefully the valid concerns about health and security will be addressed before this sham is pushed out.

      1. I disagree. Every new major radio rollout has been met with criticism and health concerns in the past. Some were real, like the 2G rollout that cooked some birds, before it was realised it was a shielding issue.

        I also disagree about the lack of need for Gigabit-Wireless connection. In some countries, the infrastructure is not good at all, making it costly to maintain current Copper-line connections or even upgrade to Fibre-line connection.

        For instance, in Australia they have the “NBN” which is a half-private and half-government owned entity. Their fibre connection tops out at 100Mbps, but users typically see speeds around 30Mbps. This means a dual-4G connection (ie LTE) is quite competitive now. And a new Multi-Gigabit (5,000Mbps) connection will put competition in the market, even if it’s real-world performance is a “lousy” 500Mbps. But just as important, there will be a latency (ie ping) improvement too. And NBN’s speeds are expected to not increase for the next 5-years, whilst its expected that 5G mainstream rollout will be complete by then.

        That new technology will open new opportunities, be it proper 4K-streaming, proper Cloud Gaming, Cloud Computing and Storage, or simply allowing Businesses to offer more powerful online tools. And we should see it throughout Australia, Europe, China, and India, as they catch up to the likes of South Korea and Big-city USA.

        1. My phone has 4G, but I have an RF meter, so believe me, 3G radiates a lot less than 4G! (Like 35mW vs. 1W.)

          I’m a technocrat, I love devices and gadgets, but the growing electrosmog isn’t what we need. 5G is a lot faster, we’ll soon have 5G phones, so what? We will be able to view 8K videos on our 6” screens – aaand?

          The problem is that the wired internet is the fastest and safest, using a proper keyboard and mouse in front of a 24”+ monitor with decent speakers is a lot better and a lot more convenient than using a phone during a walk to the next available wifi spot.

          Downvote my reply, I don’t really care, but 95% of us don’t need internet on the go. Most of the people are constantly checking their FB pages, but wha’t good in it? Meet with those people from time to time to have a real-life chat instead of never reading / viewing those posts / videos but always liking it.

          5G is useless, 3G is fast enough on a mobile phone.
          5G will only be useful for anybody living in a remote place where there is no nearby wired net.

          1. There was a 4G device (standard portable handset would burn you after draining the tiny battery to pump out that much signal…..right before it exploded) that radiated 1W……I don’t think so. I worked in cellular from 1.5G to 4G and anything even remotely close to a full watt (outside of crazy edge case amps that are not even always FFC cert) went away a LONG time ago.

            You are spot on about the incredible lack of need of 5G though, 8k on a 6″ isn’t too far off and makes me sad,

        2. Wait! Is your main argument that just because some warnings about earlier technologies turned out to be unjustified, logically follows that any criticism of the next new technology is consequently unjustified? Seems like a textbook case logical fallacy to me.

          Besides, I could not fail to notice that the warnings about this new technology are more intense and come from more reliable sources than the warnings about previous technologies. Did you notice it, too?

          1. Was this a reply to me?

            Well, all I said is that health concerns such as this are expected. However, from the data we have so far from the 1G->4G, it has seemed to be greatly exaggerated. And if these systems are installed and implemented correctly, there is no current evidence for health concerns.

            I’m not saying to jump into this blind. I’m simply saying that history is a good teacher, and general people (and tech enthusiasts especially) should employ skepticism before making up their mind.

            There are FAR MORE health warnings around about vaccinations, even from seemingly “reliable sources”. Using your logic you shouldn’t get 5G connected and you shouldn’t vaccinate your children. Yet, these concerns do not live up to criticism and can be harmful in their own right.

            Heck, I even said that I’m skeptical about their latency, download and upload speeds. They’ve shown that 5G (or Gigabit Wireless) can hit latency of 1ms ping, 5,000Mbps download, and 500Mbps upload. I am skeptical of these figures. When the full rollout and market saturation happens, I expect real-world performance closer to the likes of this: 5ms ping, 500Mbps download, 50Mbps upload…. and that’s great performance, enough to bring the countries with bad infrastructure to catch up to the nations leading in connectivity, and I’m all for that.

            And if the health concerns are correct, I’m also for abolishing this medium.

          2. “Was this a reply to me?”

            Yes. Sorry if it wasn’t clear, due to how comments section is arranged. Actually I wanted to raise skepticism of purported health concerns of 5G, while you introduces 1-4G and even vaccines, for whatever reason, to your arguments while the original topic is still 5G. I understand this is a tried and true debate tactic, but I don’t think it helps debating parties to reach a common ground.

            Long story short, it’s an interesting topic, but I’m sure a comment section on Brad’s blog, which shortly gets buried under new posts, isn’t the best place to discuss complex topics like this (including sources). I’m sure there are more suitable places on the Internet for these debates. This I’m saying to myself, too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          3. I agree with that sentence.
            Let’s break it down to what it truly stands for. To not be ignorant is akin to being knowledgeable, and that is the stance of wisdom. And since the subject is about health, it should be noted that prevention is always better than the cure. We shouldn’t blindly accept reassurances from anyone, because that’s how wars begin and religions flourish. This last point also means you cannot trust many doctors and healthcare companies, because they also are an entity with commercial interests.

            So you see, you need to be skeptical in this topic and read as much as possible.

            You never really raised skepticism for 5G, go back and read your comments, it was only about negative health aspects. This is a one-sided narrow look, not an open-minded skeptical approach.

            The comparisons to previous Wireless Technology rollouts is on-topic. The point about vaccines, which you clearly avoided, was valid and pertaining to one of your major points.

            Just because something is said online or the media, it doesn’t make it accurate or factual. And the repetition of that doesn’t give it more validity, even though to human brains it seems like it does.

            As far as I know, and have read on this matter, radiowaves can be detrimental at higher frequencies and power and short-distances and to small bodies organisms. But the frequencies and power and distance used for 5G doesn’t seem to square up to these concerns. However, we forget about testing between a single-source radiation for short periods, and between multiple-source radiation for extended periods. And that’s where my skepticism falls now, and neither are the 5G providers not the 5G deniers are able to provide credible answers. And although I understand most of it, I am not an expert on the matter, so I hold skepticism to myself as well.

            There is a silver lining though. Because these are wireless connections, that means it’s fairly easy to tune them down or outright turn the signals off from the fly. If such concerns have become statistically/biologically provable, and we already had the infrastructure installed and working, we can fallback to 3G/LTE.

    2. RF radiation is theoretically unable to harm cells beyond some localized heating, but no long-term studies have actually been done with the increasing amount we are exposed to in modern day society. (Since there hasn’t been a precedent environment for such study.) It’s quite uncharted territory.

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