Forget Galaxy Fold: 5G and foldable phones go big at MWC 2019

Forget Galaxy Fold: 5G and foldable phones go big at MWC 2019

This is poised to be a big show. Samsung and the MWC Barcelona conference have long had an up-and-down relationship. The energy at the trade show has ebbed and flowed depending on whether the world’s largest handset maker decides to hold its big first-half phone launch in Spain. If Samsung shows up, there’s a noticeable perk in interest. On Wednesday, just days before this year’s MWC kicks off, Samsung debuted its Galaxy S10 lineup and its Galaxy Fold . In San Francisco. You’d think this would take the wind out of the MWC sails. But between the mix of unique new devices , some international intrigue and, of course, 5G , the show has a good shot of standing on its own without Samsung. MWC traditionally offers you a window into what the smartphone world will look like over the next year. But with 5G , you could be seeing the foundation for how things evolve over the next few years. “This will be the most consequential MWC since the launch of 4G,” said Wayne Lam, an analyst at HIS Markit. Where CES in January offered a modest tease of what 5G would look like, MWC will be the proper launch of the next-generation cellular technology. After years of hype that 5G will change our lives by connecting everything to a super-fast and super-responsive network, some of the deployments are actually going live. Heck, even President Donald Trump is tweeting about it . Another reason to be excited is the potential to see more foldable smartphones in the works. Samsung may have kicked things off with the Galaxy Fold, but Huawei and Xiaomi may have their own flexible devices. LG , likewise, has an intriguing second-screen attachment for one of its flagship phones. The other wrinkle is how Huawei will handle being in the spotlight at the show while dealing with increased global scrutiny over the security of its products. The company typically has a massive presence at MWC, and this year won’t be any different. So yeah, it’s going to be a wild and weird show. 5G, 5G, 5G It’s 2019, and 5G is finally here. South Korea has switched on the service, although customers and deployments remain limited. In the US, AT&T has real 5G (not the fake 5G E) in a dozen markets, while Verizon has had its 5G Home service up since late last year (some quibble about whether it’s real 5G). There’s no question we’ll see slivers of real 5G deployments throughout the conference, with big-name companies like Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia likely putting up test networks in the Fira Gran Via Convention Center. It’ll be a good field test of these networks, given the sheer foot traffic and competing cellular demands of so many different deployments. MWC will also be a good place to see the broader applications beyond a faster smartphone connection. Ericsson in the past has shown how a responsive network can help you remotely drive an excavator thousands of miles […]

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