Monday, February 22, 2016

The Future of Smartphones: 5G

AT&T made headlines last week by being the latest wireless company to announce plans to incorporate 5G technology in the near future. Verizon had previously announced their plans to develop 5G technology by 2017, a prediction that AT&T among others initially scoffed at. The possibility of 5G technology in the next few years is something that is pertinent to everyday IT users as it will once again revolutionize the way we interact with each other on a daily basis. 

An immediate takeaway that I had from the article that I read was that 5G will truly be vastly improved from its 4G/4G LTE predecessor. Verizon has predicted speeds up to 50 times faster than 4G services and AT&T has gone one step further claiming that speeds up to 100 times faster can be attained through 5G technology. This startling boost in speed will be something that will make new opportunities abundant for smartphone, laptop, and tablet users. For example, one way in which streaming will be immensely quicker is that television programs will now theoretically be able to be downloaded in under 3 seconds. Additionally, 3D Video and HD services will be the norm when 5G technologies eventually hit the mainstream markets. 

Another compelling storyline from the interesting new world of 5G is the other technological advancements that will come in conjunction with it. Among these mentioned in the articles that I read are self-driving automobiles, advanced robotics technology, and "smart" cities that would allow for interconnectivity the likes of which we have never seen before. These kinds of tests are being done all throughout the country by various organizations in the tech world. Among them are Verizon, AT&T, Nokia, Intel, Qualcomm, and more.

Finally, something that really peaked my interest was the flexibility that is required of the major players in the industry when it comes to developing and enhancing the 5G experience. It will definitely be interesting in the early stages of 5G technology to see what will happen as companies inevitably attempt to rush out services to market that are not quite ready for full implementation. If these major organizations are not careful with their production and development of these services they may run the risk of discouraging their customers from using these new and improved networks. For instance, if major glitches or deficiencies occur while this new technology is in use it may cause brands to take major hits to their brand reputation.

 Overall, there are a few key aspects to 5G that I feel the articles I have chosen fail to address. Among these concerns are that there is not much mention in the article about how AT&T or others plan to distribute these new services across the country, how much of additional cost this new technology will be for consumers, and when exactly we can expect complete functionally from this type of technology. 

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Reference Article:
AT&T 5G Video:

Verizon 5G Video:

1 comment:

  1. I am not surprised by the announcement of 5G technology by the major cellular carriers such as AT&T and Verizon. This article reminds me of the concept of Moore's Law and how processing power doubles about every two years while data is becoming cheaper per gigabyte. This makes me speculate on the future of data processing and for how much longer this trend can continue. I don't know whether its user demand influencing how fast data is becoming faster or rather the companies purposely implementing planned obsolescence so that we feel the need to constantly upgrade our phones to be able to experience the fastest processing speeds. I think it's a mix of both but many people are getting pulled into this cycle who may not need data-intensive phones and would prefer to pay less a month to not be able to process an hour long TV show in three seconds. Personally, I only use streaming services if I'm on WiFi because I'm usually only watching TV from the comfort of my own home and also the latest and greatest apps are data-intensive and use data at a rate I can't afford to be streaming. I think the 5G technologies will help with emerging technology such as 3D streaming services that probably overload current specs phones/tablets/etc. have, but as far as I'm concerned I don't need my phone to send or receive texts "50 times faster" as they already send instantaneously and I don't want to be forced into a higher premium. On the other hand, I don't want to have my device be neglected because it can't download updates that require 5G, forcing me to buy a new one. Considering the trajectory that consumer electronics are on, I think consumer’s frustration will build as they have to keep replacing their products to keep the company's business thriving and companies will then in-turn have to realign their business model and start making better, longer lasting products.


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