Mobile Phone Makers Announce New 5G Models Despite MWC Cancellation
What would have been the big news from Barcelona's annual global cellular confab is the tsunami of 5G handsets.
While COVID-19 may have forced the cancellation of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), a slew of scheduled new handset and new technology announcements have and will proceed in other forms, times and venues over the last few and coming weeks.
What would have been the big news from Barcelona’s annual global cellular confab is the tsunami of 5G handsets. According to an MWC-timed Strategy Analytics report, shipments of 5G smartphones are due to grow 10x in 2020 to a projected 199 million units worldwide in 2020, which will represent around 15 percent of this year’s mobile phone sales.
Surprisingly, the U.S. is still an emerging 5G market. China is thus far the one-ton 5G gorilla, where 46 percent of all 5G handsets were sold globally last year, according to an MWC report from Counterpoint Research. As a result, many of the new bleeding-edge 5G mobiles that were due to be announced at MWC and in the wake of its cancellation are coming from Chinese brands such as Huawei/Honor, Xiaomi/Redmi, Oppo, Realme, ZTE/Nubia and vivo, and intended for their local and nearby markets such as India, and therefore unlikely to be available from U.S. carriers.
Here are some of the mobile hardware and other technologies from what would have been unveiled at MWC, as well as a preview of prominent mobile introductions scheduled during the next couple of months, likely to appear in the U.S.
Qualcomm X60 5G Modem
While most phone makers are pushing its 2020 mobiles as the peak of 5G and mobile tech, chipmaker Qualcomm is already teasing what the NEXT generation of 5G handsets will deliver. The chief advancement of its third-generation X60 5G modem is its ability to aggregate available mmWave and sub-6GHz bands to create lower latency and faster 5G connectivity. Inside the thinner 5nm X60 chip, which will enable even thinner 5G handsets, are an enhanced antenna module to help pull in finicky short-range mmWave signals, technology to enhance 360-video and game play, and efficiencies to increase battery life. The first handsets imbued with the X60 likely won’t appear at least until the fall, more likely in a plethora of new flagship 5G models at next year’s MWC.
LG V60 ThinQ 5G with LG Dual Screen
Why settle for a phone with one screen when you can get two? The LG V60 is equipped with dual 6.8-inch, 20.5:9 tall FHD+P-OLED screens a half-inch larger than its predecessor, the G8X, its first dual display model unveiled last September. But thanks to thinner OLED panels, the larger V60 weighs the same as the G8X. Inside the V60 are the latest mobile technical accoutrements: Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 processor and the chip maker’s current X55 5G modem with mmWave and sub-6GHz connectivity, Wi-Fi 6, a 65MP/13MP super wide angle rear camera array capable of 8K video recording, and a massive 5,000 mAh battery. LG says the V60 will be available in the coming weeks from AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon.
TCL Series 10 5G
Best known for its low-cost/high-quality 4K TVs, TCL will enter the U.S. smartphone market with its three Series 10 smartphones, the 10 5G, the 10 Pro and the entry-level 10 L. Most technical details will be announced in around a month from now, but we do know that all three will feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 processor, quad rear cameras, TCL-made edge AMOLED displays with the company’s NXTVISION technology with advanced display optimization and camera technology, and all three – including the 10 5G – will be priced below $500 when they become available in Q2.
Oppo Find X2
This mmWave 5G model is a bit of a puzzle. No Oppo phones are yet sold through a U.S. carrier, but when we asked if we might find the Find X2 domestically at some point, we weren’t exactly told no. Further, in the set-up of our review sample, English is set as the default language and the U.S. as the default country, even though the box included only a European transformer. If/when Oppo enters the U.S. market with this thin model, resellers will find a phone with an impressive 6.78-inch QHD+ (1440 x 3168) 513ppi curved 120Hz AMOLED screen, multiple 360-degree antennas for better reception, what the company claims is the industry’s fastest 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 flash charging (but, curiously, not Qi wireless charging), and 12-bit photos, all powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 processor.
OnePlus 8/8 Pro
Reverse charging – the ability to use a mobile handset as a portable wireless charger for other handsets – is likely to become a more ubiquitous feature in flagship handsets this year. TWICE’s sister publication, TechRadar, has detailed some of the potential OnePlus 8 series attributes, including the possible inclusion of reverse charging. A global announcement for the multi-model OnePlus 8 line will likely happen the second week of April. Pictured is the OnePlus 7T, released earlier this year.
Android 11/Google Pixel 5/5XL
MWC isn’t the only prominent cellular event to be victimized by COVID-19. Google’s annual confab, Google IO20, originally scheduled for May 12-14, also has been canceled. But the company has already released the first Developer Preview of Android 11 (cleverly being marketed as “turning it up to 11”), with the full version expected to be available sometime mid-year. It’s also expected that the first Android 11 handset will be Google’s own Pixel 5 and 5XL, likely due in October. Like the OnePlus 8, reverse charging is a rumored upgrade coming on these next-gen Pixels.
Apple 9/SE 2
Foxconn just announced its Chinese iPhone factories will be up to full production strength at the end of March, just in time for the Apple event rumored to take place March 31 to introduce the iPhone 9/iPhone SE 2, or whatever this budget iPhone will be called. Whatever its name, this new iPhone will not be 5G; Apple’s first foray into 5G likely will come in the fall with the iPhone 12. Other Apple gear possibly to be launched at the end of the month event are a refreshed Apple TV, an updated iPad Pro equipped with an iPhone 11-like camera array, and perhaps over-the-head AirPods. Pictured is the iPhone 11, since no one knows what the iPhone 9/iPhone SE 2 will look like.
TCL Teases Flexible AMOLED Smartphone Prototypes