5G is in the spotlight at Mobile World Congress, currently underway in Barcelona, with various demonstrations showing off the technology's future possibilities for homes and vehicles. Chip-maker Intel caused a sensation at the event by presenting a first prototype PC compatible with the future mobile wireless standard.
Intel's concept is a detachable two-in-one PC featuring a 5G modem and latest-gen Intel Core i5 processors. No potential performance data has yet been announced by the American manufacturer. Intel also announced that it is partnering with several manufacturers (Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft) to bring 5G-connected PCs to the consumer market from the second half of 2019.
The speed and capacity of 5G anywhere, anytime
More than simply a new-gen mobile connectivity standard, 5G promises various major developments for users, such as smooth live streaming, wireless access to virtual reality (VR) tools and facilitated control of various peripherals and connected home accessories etc. Indeed, 5G-compatible PCs could become an even more effective nerve centre for the connected home.
For Intel, it's also about catching up with Qualcomm — a pioneer in the field, actively involved in developing the first 4G-compatible PCs. These are now slowly arriving on the market (first in the US, coming later in 2018 to Europe). Although with lower performances and certain limitations, these "Always Connected PCs" promise boosted battery life and virtually constant internet connection, switching between Wi-Fi and 4G as and when necessary.
Note that Qualcomm also demoed the first 5G data connection on a smartphone in fall 2017, with the aim of bringing compatible handsets to market from Q1 2019.
This MWC edition proved yet again, how much a part Apple plays at these shows despite having no presence there.