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Motorola Does Not Launch World's 1st 5G Smartphone

by Ken Hyers | Aug 07, 2018

Last week Motorola announced that it would be releasing an accessory for its new moto z smartphone that would allow the phone to connect to a 5G network. Queue the breathless news headlines and tweets (fake news, anyone?) claiming “Motorola launches world’s first 5G smartphone”.

moto z­­3 smartphone & moto mod 5G modem

To be clear, Motorola has not launched a 5G smartphone, and likely will not be the first vendor to launch a 5G smartphone – that honor will likely go to either Samsung or Huawei. What Motorola has announced is that its new moto z­­3 will be able to attach a 5G moto mod accessory onto the back of the moto z­­3 smartphone using powerful magnets built into the phone and mod. The 5G moto mod accessory will come with its own 2000 mAh battery so that 5G modem and components don’t suck down all of the phone’s power.

Real 5G smartphones will appear towards the very end of 2018/beginning of 2019, but networks supporting them will be limited to urban cores of various cities around the globe. The first 5G phones will be expensive, and only a few millions of them will be available globally in 2019. It will not be until the early 2020s that 5G smartphones become ubiquitous, as prices come down, kinks are worked out and network buildouts become more widespread. In the meantime, 5G will be mainly limited to IoT applications.  But that won’t stop companies from trying to wring attention by waving the 5G flag, nor breathless (gullible?) news editors proclaiming the first 5G this and that for the next few months.

Strategy Analytics' Emerging Device Technologies practice offers detailed research on 5G for smartphones and related devices. Clients can access research on this topic and much more here.
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