IFA GPC 2017: 5G will allow smartphones “to go to places they haven’t been before”

Forget speed; 5G networks’ instant, reliable and low-power connections will create a new wave of intelligent mobile devices

IMG_1014Above: Paul Gray, Principal Analyst/Researcher at IHS Technology, speaking at the IFA GPC 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal: Incoming 5G networked expected in the early 2020s will create a new era of intelligent and incredibly powerful devices that will be able to survive for days at a time on their built-in batteries.

Off the beaten track

That was the message at the IFA GPC 2017 in Lisbon from Paul Gray, Principal Analyst/Researcher at IHS Technology, who predicted that 5G will allow smartphones to technologically get off the beaten track and “to go to places they haven’t been before”.

Intelligent design

“There’s a shift in intelligence, which is no longer just in devices,” said Gray. “People are writing and talking a lot about 5G and how fast it is, but that misses the point.” 5G phones will be capable of a download speed of 20gbps, and an upload of 10gbps, which is 100 times faster than 4G. But it’s 5G’s other characteristics that Gray thinks will be decisive.

Low-power, instant connections

“It’s actually about low power and low latency, because remember that you can’t buffer perception – you get motion sickness,” he said. Latency is the time time it takes for a webpage to load on your phone – something that 5G will reduce from around 40 milliseconds for 4G, to less than a millisecond for 5G. 5G will also mean devices can connect to networks in a very reliable manner, essentially allowing thousands of devices per square mile to connect to a local mobile network.

Longer-lasting batteries

We can also look forward to long-lasting batteries in our phones and wearable devices. “The promise of 5G being fast, very reliable connections will allow mobile devices to go to places they haven’t been before,” said Gray, adding that batteries will last days or weeks instead of hours. Those characteristics will allow devices to access huge amounts of computing power on the cloud instead of in the device’s software itself. “You get a virtuous circle if you don’t have lots of heavy computing going on in the device.”

IFA 2017 will take place in Berlin from 1-6 September, 2017