Apple may not be planning to release a 5G iPhone until at least 2020, but don’t expect rival Android handset makers to be willing to hold on for so long.
According to Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon, by this time next year the market is set to be flooded with 5G Android phones. “Every Android vendor is working on 5G right now,” he said.
“When we get to exactly this time of year one year from now … we will see every [handset maker] on the Android ecosystem, their flagship across all U.S. carriers will be a 5G device,” Amon told CNET.
The first of these handsets is likely to hit in early 2019. Samsung, Apple’s chief rival in the high-end smartphone business, has said that it will have a 5G phone on Verizon, AT&T and other networks by the first part of next year. Using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon technology, Amon said that others will quickly follow.
During an event in Hawaii this week, Qualcomm and Samsung showed prototype 5G devices running on “live” networks.
Qualcomm also showed a slide in which it listed — as companies leaping on its 5G technology — Asus, Fujitsu, Google, HMD, HTC, InSeeGo, LG, Motorola, Netgear, NetComm Wireless, OnePlus, Oppo, Samsung, Sharp, Sierra Wireless, Sony, Telit, Vivo, WingTech, WNC, Mi and ZTE.
Apple is taking a different approach
Apple, by comparison, will reportedly bide its time. A Bloomberg report this week said that Apple will hold off on launching an iPhone on the ultra-fast 5G network until 2020 at the earliest.
Provided this is accurate, Apple’s move wouldn’t be out of character. It behaved in a similar way with both 3G and 4G networks, both of which took a while to arrive on iPhone. By holding off for a while, Apple avoids the early problems with adopting these networks — most notable spotty coverage. However, it loses out on being able to offer the latest exciting innovation.
Apple has also notably been feuding with Qualcomm for the past couple of years. While members of the supply chain predicted that the two companies would patch things up over Qualcomm’s 5G tech, Apple seems to be holding firm. The two tech giants will face off in court in April.