5G Phones Will Be Bigger & More Expensive With Crappy Battery Life. Excited Yet?

from the ill-communication dept

Buried underneath the blistering hype surrounding fifth-generation (5G) wireless is a quiet but growing consensus: the technology is being over-hyped, and early incarnations were rushed to market in a way that prioritized marketing over substance. That’s not to say that 5G won’t be a good thing when it arrives at scale several years from now, but early offerings have been almost comical in their shortcomings. AT&T has repeatedly lied about 5G availability by pretending its 4G network is 5G. Verizon has repeatedly hyped early non-standard launches that, when reviewers actually got to take a look, were found to be barely available.

That’s before we even get to actual 5G phone support, which is fairly paltry so far. Some carriers have gone so far as to offer up extensive and clunky battery mods for existing phones, which few are going to want to actually pay for. And the handsets that are available tend to be bigger, more expensive, and with worse battery life than existing phones.

Case in point: Qualcomm was so eager to hype 5G and sell more hardware, the company removed the integrated 4G LTE chipset in its 2020 Snapdragon 865 system on a chip (SOC). But one of the impacts of removing integrated LTE is that 5G support now requires more battery life and more space, driving up overall costs for the end user:

“This means nearly every flagship Android phone will be a 5G phone in 2020, and putting the 5G and 4G on a giant extra chip means smartphones are going to use way more power, no matter which cell network you’re connected to. When 5G networks are only going to be in their infancy in 2020, this sounds like an across-the-board downgrade to me.”

Keep in mind: US consumers — who already pay some of the highest prices in the world — are also going to be paying notably more just to connect to these 5G networks, making 5G in the short term an expensive proposition. The repeal of net neutrality is likely to result in carriers finding new, creative ways to nickel-and-dime you, and the looming merger between Sprint and T-Mobile is likely to reduce competition, driving up consumer costs as well. As such, 5G’s added price proposition isn’t likely to appeal to most users anytime soon.

This is before you get to simple aesthetics and design, and the fact that 5G phones are going to be bigger and clunkier than ever:

“So far, the industry’s response to 5G’s bigger space requirements has been to make smartphones even larger. Consider the Galaxy S10 as a data point: you can get 4G versions like the 6.1-inch Galaxy S10 and the 6.4-inch Galaxy S10+, but if you want 5G, you will have to pick up the ultra-huge 6.7-inch Galaxy S10 5G, which is basically a new S10++ sku. For the Galaxy S11’s 2020 release (which, remember, has to have 5G in every model), rumors point to across-the-board size increases for every model.”

Apple has taken some heat for “lagging” behind on a 5G phone, but it’s fairly clear if you’re paying attention that there’s no actual rush. The folks framing 5G as some kind of “race” are largely network gear makers and carriers looking to spike network hardware and smartphone sales (or hey, scare regulators into blind obedience). In reality, 5G will ultimately provide faster, better, and more resilient mobile networks, but it’s going to take years for networks to reach critical mass and prices to come down. For now, there’s no shame — and likely some notable savings — when it comes to lagging behind on 5G.

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Companies: qualcomm

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Comments on “5G Phones Will Be Bigger & More Expensive With Crappy Battery Life. Excited Yet?”

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36 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: no optimum

There is no optimum one-size-fits-all cellfone size.

Wide consumer choice is good. Consumer preferences differ.
How many choices do you have in personal computers — lots.

Bigger fones/screens become more appealing as you get older and eyesight deteriorates, or if your vision wasn’t great to start with.

Steve Jobs was totally wrong with the small/compact ‘original’ iPhone — most all fones got bigger.

2G fones are still around — 5G will be only a niche market for many years.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: 4G Phones Will Be Bigger & More Expensive With Crappy Ba

"So you really want to wait until the phones are ready, by which point the networks might be as well."

With 5G that’s dubious. The whole thing is hyped to a ridiculous point.

Essentially every shift towards higher bandwidth is accompanied by an unavoidable loss of signal range because that’s how the laws of electromagnetism work. 4G already requires close proximity to a cell phone tower in order to retain substantial bandwidth.

5G doesn’t even have 2% (!) of the signal range of 4G.

So the new hyperexpensive 5G flagship will effectively be running 4G, 3G or EDGE until you’ve got enough signal transmitters in the city to make the nearest cell phone switch no further away than your wifi router when you’re at home.

But the telcos will be begging for massive state or federal subsidies to fund a best-effort 5G tower network in a few places and the phone manufacturers will surely enjoy selling their 5G flagships at an extra 30% cost.

The entire 5G rollout in the US should be renamed the "P.T. Barnum Memorial Project".

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 4G Phones Will Be Bigger & More Expensive With Crapp

This is just to Show..
That the Cellphone system is doing something..
What may Not be clear, is what they Think they are doing.

Insted of installing FIOS, into all these cities they have this neat idea to compete with Cable and FIOS, to use a wireless system.

the problems they are going to have with wireless are many. Esp. with High frequency.
And that they are going to need Fios connections to every Antenna ANYWAY. There is a demo they asked for, from a Canadian YT.. and he went to 1of the cities that has the antenna, and walked the area, and it was terrible.. He could block the signal from 1 block away with his own body. "can you hear me now" is going to be very popular…Changed to "Can I watch now"..

Its Money sink. its a giant tax deduction, of failure. And I dont want to pay for them, to not pay their taxes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: 4G Phones Will Be Bigger & More Expensive With Crappy Batteries

No, many of the first 1G cell phones were permanently installed in motorcars. The handset sat between the driver and passenger seats, the actual electronics were a brick-like package mounted in the trunk and there was a curly antenna affixed to the back window. The whole thing was analogue FM and cost $0.25 to $1/minute.

There was an earlier version of manual mobile telephone before that which was just as bulky or worse, but with no more than a few dozen channels to cover the whole city, it was basically useless.

ECA (profile) says:

hadd/need to post this.

https://www.verizon.com/home/fios-gigabit-connection/?promotion_code=JUNCT/W04&CMP=AFC_CON_ACQ_33333_CJ_201807_OTH_GigTP_000001_CJ&AID=13382497&PID=7060520&SID=dad9f261-891a-4134-9495-6580b10bd23b&cjevent=3ea3ff6b21d611ea831900170a1c0e12

National advert sent by IGN..
Fios and Disney+ on us.
+$100 Visa Prepaid card
+3 year Router Rental

$80 per month.
——————————————————

I tested and sent my zip code and NOPE.. not a chance in hell.
I called them to suggest this, and ask Why they sent this nationally.. As there is a Major chance it dont cover the USA..
IT DONT.. its east coast only. Which is less than 25% of the nation.. And If I have any idea of the odds anyone here can get it, it would be a <10% chance, even on the East coast.

https://providersbyzip.com/verizon-fios-availability
have fun with this..
Can anyone test this for dependability?? They are giving a Good speed Up/Down..

ECA (profile) says:

hadd/need to post this.

https://www.verizon.com/home/fios-gigabit-connection/?promotion_code=JUNCT/W04&CMP=AFC_CON_ACQ_33333_CJ_201807_OTH_GigTP_000001_CJ&AID=13382497&PID=7060520&SID=dad9f261-891a-4134-9495-6580b10bd23b&cjevent=3ea3ff6b21d611ea831900170a1c0e12

National advert sent by IGN..
Fios and Disney+ on us.
+$100 Visa Prepaid card
+3 year Router Rental

$80 per month.
——————————————————

I tested and sent my zip code and NOPE.. not a chance in hell.
I called them to suggest this, and ask Why they sent this nationally.. As there is a Major chance it dont cover the USA..
IT DONT.. its east coast only. Which is less than 25% of the nation.. And If I have any idea of the odds anyone here can get it, it would be a <10% chance, even on the East coast.

https://providersbyzip.com/verizon-fios-availability
have fun with this..
Can anyone test this for dependability?? They are giving a Good speed Up/Down..

Anonymous Coward says:

These are all good reasons why apple is not making a 5g phone,
the 5g networks are years away from being built,
it,ll be years before consumers can notice a difference in network speed,s beween 4g and 5g.,There,s no reason to buy an expensive 5g phone for at least a year .
american telecom companys can hardly build fast broadband for consumers in many states, They will probably just build 5 g networks in citys and urban area,s and leave 4g as it is now for rural area,s .
And it will take years to make high quality 5g chips that use less power than the 1st generation 5g chips .

Anonymous Coward says:

That’s not to say that 5G won’t be a good thing when it arrives at scale several years from now

I’ll say it. I don’t think there is anything necessary or particularly good about 5G phones or infrastructure. I also think it is full-on bullshit vapor. They will redefine 5G to mean what they want, and everyone in the supply stream and service provider stream will make you pay more for less.

100% no good, that’s my crazy psychic prediction.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It could be a direct result of the business model in use here, the industry is reliant upon continual market expansion and in its absence the market becomes soft, so their response is to create brand new spankin shit for you to purchase even though you have no need for it. There seems to be little effort to identify the rather large animal in the room, some feel as though it could be an elephant but they are not sure and are afraid to look.

Anonymous Coward says:

Apple waited on 4G until there was a better, more energy-efficient chip. They will do the same for 5G. If there isn’t one for the 2020 iPhone’s, they won’t have 5G on them.

Personally I don’t see the point of having 5G on a phone. What is the most bandwidth HOG on your phone that you do? I’ll say streaming Video. I do a lot of that. 4G works just fine for that. Far more than good enough.

The biggest issue for me is weak T-Mobile service is some areas. I think maybe part of it is this iPhone XS with the Intel modem in it. It’s strange where I’d have even 3 or 4 bars and my phone is acting as I have ZERO internet service. The phone works, but everything else is dead. Even 1 or 2 bars I should be getting something, but it’s just DEAD. I can’t even do the most basic very little internet use. Even trying to run SpeedTest, Nothing!!! It’s been a while but I think my iPhone 6 worked better in the same places that my iPhone XS doesn’t.

On the other hand, some if not most or all is just T-Mobile. They like others really need to get better service, even in town. Wanting to charge more money for 5G? That is another issue I have a problem with. Pay more and 99.9% of the time you aren’t even connected to 5G. 5G also needs 4 times the towers to cover the same area. I won’t pay more for 5G. I could care less about 5G. My phone when it’s working does everything I need it to do.

For me, speed is fast enough already.

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