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Qualcomm demonstrates working 5G handset capable of 5Gbps download speeds

QUALCOMM HAS taken its latest giant leap towards the 5G landscape with its first test of a super (duper) fast connection on a mobile device.

The 5G modem was first announced a year ago but yesterday it appeared as the X50, in a test within a brand new Qualcomm reference design handset which the company will be using to test 5G in the run-up to market.

The results of the 28GHz millimetre-wave frequency band were in the Gigabit range, but will, the company says, be capable of 5Gbps when 5G is in common use.

This will make 5G as fast and faster than the fastest wired connections currently in use.

We first saw the 5G design in use in an Australian Hotspot run by local carrier Telstra alongside Netgear and Ericsson, but the X16 modem was, at that stage, far too big for a phone. But a year later and things have shrunk as the age of 5G gets closer.

The Qualcomm reference phone is 9mm thick with a virtually bezel-less screen, aping many of the current phones trickling on to the market.

It contains two-millimetre wave antennae, each about the size of a 10p piece, but they’ll be more like the size of a 5p by the time we’re anything like close to production (remember, originally, 5G prototypes were the size of a ruddy briefcase).

Alongside the 5G news, the company announced a midrange Snapdragon 636 processor which claims a 40 per cent improvement over the current 630 and supports ultrawide FHD+ displays, 600Mbps LTE and 24MP cameras. But as the 630 has only just started showing up in public, don’t hold your breath just yet.

The company has also released new components to power phones using the 600MHz spectrum. At present only T-Mobile in the US is using this part of the band so it’s not worth dwelling on right now, but it could open the door to more devices being able to take it on. At present, the LG V30 is the only publicly available device that supports 600MHz. µ

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