Do you hear that? It's the sound of thousands of 5G-related press releases furiously being typed in the run-up to CES and MWC 2019.
5G is undoubtedly going to be the biggest tech news story of next year, whether or not the consumer applications are ready. To that end, Sprint and HTC — two companies that are slowly fading into obscurity with each passing year — have announced an unnamed 5G "smart hub" that will be released in the first half of 2019, according to a press release.
The product, built in collaboration with Qualcomm, which is already trying to cement its dominance of 5G modems in the U.S., will reportedly "deliver multimedia and connected data capabilities in a compact and portable design." Like all other 5G products released in the first half of 2019, it will be powered by Qualcomm's X50 baseband, which combines high-speed LTE with the burgeoning 5G NR standard that will form the basis for all consumer products in the early days.
It's unclear exactly what a "smart hub" means in the context of 5G, but it's likely the HTC-built product will act as an internet hotspot for other LTE and 5G products, and may have a screen of its own to act as a basic Android tablet. Sprint says the device name, specs and release date will come at a later date.
Back in August, Sprint co-announced a 5G phone with LG, which is also slated to launch in the first half of 2019. The company's 5G network will launch first in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. and will utilize high-frequency millimeter wave spectrum along with Massive MIMO.
Sprint is also in the middle of a merger with T-Mobile which, if approved by U.S. regulators, would occur sometime in 2019 — right around the time both companies launch their respective 5G networks in earnest. It's going to be an interesting year.
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