Last year Intel had announced their new XMM 8000 series of 5G modems, and now they have partnered up with vendors to make mobile PCs with 5G a reality in 2019.
Intel is working with Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft to make this reality sooner rather than later. In fact, if you attend Mobile World Congress (MWC), you will be able to see a new detachable 2-in-1 PC with an early 5G modem and an i5 8th Generation processor.
Intel will demo 5G by showing live streaming of a video over the 5G network. With the increase in throughput that 5G offers, the technology will change the way we experience data. Intel wants us to imagine untethered VR, downloading a 250MB file in seconds in a parking lot, and even multi-player gaming in your autonomous car.
With new technologies, there are always obstacles to maneuver around and delays are quite common, but it does seem that Intel's 5G hardware is on track to land in 2019.
Qualcomm has been leading the 5G game for what feels like years now, and now we have news that Sprint has promised to launch mobile 5G services nationwide in the first half of 2019.
Sprint boss Marcelo Claure explained during their recent quarterly earnings conference call with investors: "We're working with Qualcomm and network and device manufacturers in order to launch the first truly mobile [5G] network in the United States by the first half of 2019. This development will put Sprint at the forefront of technology innovation on par with other leading carriers around the world... We believe our next-gen network will truly differentiate Sprint over the next couple of years".
US telco competitor T-Mobile has promised nationwide 5G support in 2019, finishing it in 2020, with Sprint now in the lead for the next generation of mobile connectivity.
A San Jose-based startup named Energous, has announced that it has been granted approval by the FCC for their power-at-a-distance wireless charger that uses the WattUp Mid Field transmitter.
WattUp Mid Field transmitter converts electricity to radio frequencies which then are beamed to nearby devices that support wireless charging and have a corresponding receiver. This new technology brings forth a new wave of wireless charging, as previous generations of the idea required physical contact with the wireless charging device, Energouses product can be used in a 15 feet radius from the station.
The WattUp will have the ability to be able to charge multiple devices at once, from phones to tablets, keyboards and any other piece of technology that is fitted with a corresponding charging receiver. Just like Wi-Fi, the WattUp is manufacturer-agnostic meaning that no matter what brand receiver users may have the wireless charging will still be available to use.
Intel has just increased its threat against Qualcomm in a very big way by announcing their new XMM 7660 LTE modem, something that will really push the limits of download speeds over our mobile devices.
The new XMM 7660 LTE modem from Intel is capable of reaching 1.6Gbps which is an incredible leap from the 1Gbps offered under Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 processor. Intel's new LTE modem will be one of the fastest in the world, and could be inside of the iPhone 9.
Intel will need to provide some real-world tests of the 1.6Gbps teased by its XMM 7660 LTE modem, but I think seeing 1.5GB/sec downloading onto my phone will be so scary I'd pass out. My 100Mbps fiber connection at home is already mighty fine, but 1.6Gbps from my phone? Holy hell.
Verizon is looking to charge its consumers an additional $10 per month for 4K video streaming, after splitting their unlimited plans into two tiers; one capped streaming at 480p, while another went up to 720p (and 1080p for tablets).
If you want that restriction removed, and were paying $85 per month, it'll turn into $95 per month but give you up to 4K video streaming. The additional $10 per month charge is per line, so if you have a family plan it's going to cost you a bit more per month if you want high quality video.
With all of the issues going on in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the FCC fast-tracked 60 x Project Loon internet ballons to fly over both countries for six months.
Alphabet is behind Project Loon, with Google's parent company pushing cellular data capabilities from the skies. Project Loon would return internet connectivity to countless residents. Project Loon was recently deployed in Peru after floods affected the city, with Alphabet teaming with Peruvian network Telefonica to help get the signals from the ground and allocate them into the right spectrum and services.
An Alphabet spokesperson told Wired: "Things are a little more complicated because we're starting from scratch. Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner's network-the balloons can't do it alone".
For those who have no idea what Project Loon is, the balloons provide internet access by "relaying communications between Alphabet's own ground stations connected to the surviving wireless networks, and users' handsets". Awesome tech, for a great cause, Alphabet.
Google have announced that everyone's favorite assistant is back, in a new slimmed-down miniature version. The Google Home Mini is everything you've came to love from the Google Home range only in a smaller, more versatile miniature smart speaker. Featuring a 360 degree speaker with 40mm drivers, the physical size of the Google Home Mini is about the size of a mini-donut at 3.86inch diameter and 1.65inch in height.
A direct competitor to Amazon's Echo Dot, both smart speakers are very similar with Google Home Mini utilizing Google Assistant. Featuring Bluetooth, touch controls for volume and a physical switch for muting voice commands, Google have provided 3 colors to suit your preference- Chalk, Charcoal and Coral and is finished in a soft-touch mesh material.
Microsoft has teamed with Facebook and Spanish telco giant Telxis on a new undersea communications cable that is 17,000 feet below the surface of the ocean.
The companies claim that it is the "most technologically advanced subsea cable" with up to 160Tbps of data per second, beating out Google's recent "Faster" cable. The 160Tbps-capable cable spans a distance of 4000 miles from Virgina Beach, Virginia to Bilbao, Spain.
Construction began in August 2016, with Microsoft announcing its completion on Thursday, while the super-fast cable won't be in operation until early 2018. The idea behind the cable started with Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which knocked out the connection between the US and Europe for a few days.
Microsoft explained in a blog post: "The superstorm sparked the realization that another major event could disrupt the vital connectivity lifeline across the Atlantic. As part of its ongoing efforts to drive innovation and expand capacity of its global network, Microsoft sought options for making transatlantic connections more resilient".
The race towards 5G is ramping up quickly, but Qualcomm keeps deploying new technologies and hurdles for consumers and its competitors, respectively - and while it's hard to keep up sometimes, there has never been a more exciting time for the always-connected world we live in.
Qualcomm has just announced that its new Snapdragon X50 modem is capable of not just 5G, but 4G, 3G, and even 2G. The Snapdragon X50 will work with Verizon in the US, and Korea ahead of the 5G rollouts in 2020, but Qualcomm and its partners are hoping to make this 5G reality happen sooner, rather than later.
Having 5G/4G/3G/2G all working on a single chip will be very advantageous for Qualcomm, as it means that we will see a truly global smartphone world thanks to the Snapdragon X50.
I've been spending the past few months dreaming of higher mobile speeds, with Qualcomm teaming with Australian telco, Telstra, alongside Ericsson, and Netgear on Gigabit LTE - but Qualcomm also teased 5G not so long ago.
Now, the International Telecommunications Unit (ITU) have decided on the 5G specifications: with the ITU statnig that a single 5G cell must feature 20Gbps of bandwidth, and include support for up to 1 million devices connected per kilometer (0.62 miles). The standard will also require carriers to have at least 100MHz of free spectrum, and where available: up to 1GHz.
The ITU published the first draft of its 5G radio interfaces a few days ago, but we should expect the final tech specs on 5G technology by November. But the tease of at least 20Gbps down and 10Gbps up is absolutely incredible, but you won't be getting 20Gbps to your smartphone - in reality, the 20Gbps will split its bandwidth across all of the devices it is blasting to.
The per-user download/upload speeds will hit 100Mbps and 50Mbps, respectively - something you can get right now on your 4G LTE device. Personally, I've hit 220Mbps+ on Telstra, on my Google Pixel smartphone - but 5G will offer 100Mbps, all the time - not just in the best conditions. The reduced latency to 1ms, is incredible - but we should expect bigger and better things from 5G once it's completely finalized.