The Consumer Electronics Show – or CES for short – is the world’s premier tech gadget and gear show. Every year in Las Vegas, the world’s technology vendors come together to show off the future of technology. This year, the future is all about 5G

Better batteries with 5G 

Like 4G before it, 5G’s first great leap forward will come from batteries. Specifically, balancing the power required to support a 5G antenna with the need for all-day usage. The 5G flagship handsets of 2019 pulled off incredible feats of power, not just from the network, but from their lightweight on-board batteries that kept everything going. Achieving fast network speeds, however, also pulls a great deal of power out of the phone to keep it running.  

This year’s CES showed that battery is top-of-mind for hardware developers, as 5G radios integrate into processors while still achieving significant network speeds. 

It’s a little complicated, but if you integrate a 5G radio into the processor of a smartphone, rather than have a separate internal 5G radio, the power efficiency gains made are groundbreaking. That means your new 5G smartphone in the next few years could have a better battery and faster speeds than your current 4G model! That’s the future in your pocket. 

5G on more devices 

In 2019, we were excited to be the first Australian telco to roll-out flagship 5G consumer smartphones and an incredible hotspot. At CES 2020, we saw that things are about to get even more interesting in the years to come as other providers hop on the 5G bandwagon. 

Major chip makers Intel and device giant MediaTek showed off a proof-of-concept “next-gen PC” that features integrated 5G for streamlined connectivity. Imagine being able to turn on your gaming PC the day you move into a new place with a 5G modem inside. It means you’re online with world-leading speeds and without having to wait for fast fibre broadband to be switched on! 

And it’s not just 5G in desktops we can look forward to: the mobile office will go truly mobile in 2020 as companies like Lenovo integrate the new network into its laptop lineup. The Lenovo Project Limitless laptop made its debut at CES, as did the new HP Elite Dragonfly laptop, also with integrated 5G. 

The humble home Wi-Fi router is set to be beefed up this year, with brands like Linksys and gaming brand Razer announcing that they’re integrating 5G into their products. The Linksys line-up includes a 5G mobile hotspot, a mmWave outdoor router and a home router that brings in 5G and extends it to the whole house via a mesh network.  

Razer, meanwhile, debuted the Sila 5G, which acts as a home router with 5G for fast gaming as well as an impressive rechargeable battery that would allow it to be a mobile hotspot outside the home. 

Even cars will get 5G connectivity as infotainment matures to support apps like Netflix and YouTube to keep riders entertained while electric vehicles are charging. 

As 5G radios mentioned above shrink into battery-efficient speedsters, we can also expect to see new wearables packing fast networking. Smartwatches on the market today can stream media like music and podcasts, but imagine a future where streams started almost instantly, with high-res audio and efficient battery usage all at once. It’s closer than you think! 

Preparing for 5G everywhere 

We’ve been working hard this year with our partners to develop and test smarter ways to roll-out our 5G network in Australia.  

At CES, we announced that a quarter of the phones we’ve sold since mid-2019 are 5G-compatible. That’s a huge number of devices ready to receive the upgrade to low latency and faster speeds as we continue to roll out 5G. 

Elsewhere, the world’s appetite for 5G is growing also. Samsung announced at CES this year that it sold a staggering 6.7 million 5G phones in 2019. That’s a huge increase over its initial expectations of only 4 million at most. 

And as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer crows about its success, other players want in on the next generation of mobile technology. TCL – traditionally a home entertainment and TV company – announced that it is getting into the phone game in 2020, backed by 5G technology. 

TCL – renowned for quality gear at lower price points – announced three phones at CES 2020, one of which is tipped to pack 5G tech for less than $US500. Stay tuned to February’s Mobile World Congress, the biggest mobile tech event in the world for more news.