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MWC 2019 Shanghai: 5G Excitement and New Tech in Smartphone Domain

by Yiwen Wu | Jun 28, 2019

MWC 2019 Shanghai is the first tech show in telecommunication industry after Chinese government released 5G licenses. The event took place from June 26th to June 28th with a strong focus on China’s 5G development. Analysts from Strategy Analytics’ Device team attended the event.

In the event, China Mobile announced its target to penetrate 5G smartphone to RMB1000-2000 price segment in China by the end of 2020. Given the current price tier of 5G devices (above RMB 5000), it is a rather aggressive plan, but for sure will accelerate 5G adoption rate in China next year.  

Huawei’s Mate 20X 5G is the first and only model so far in China which has received the necessary go-to-market permit from the government, while the other vendors including OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE will follow up quickly.  OPPO Reno 5G, vivo iQOO 5G, Xiaomi Mix 3 5G, ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G, and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G are demoed in Qualcomm’s exhibition stand. Most of these models have already hit the European markets, and they are expected to be launched in China in Q3 2019.

Driven by the strong will of local operators and full support from smartphone vendors, 5G is likely to trigger smartphone upgrade needs in 2020 in China. The challenging part is still in the 5G user case in consumer side. Cloud gaming is among the few consumer use cases on 5G smartphones demoed, but we do not view it is consumer’s pain point that will ignite the sales of 5G smartphone.

China Mobile 5G Plan

Other than 5G, we spotted some interesting technologies in the smartphone domain. They are from OPPO and vivo, in the background that Huawei focus its efforts on network business in the show and Xiaomi is absent from the event.  

  • OPPO showcased a smartphone prototype with under-screen front camera technology. The technology is enabled by a customized camera module and AI optimization on software side. This opens a new possibility to enable full-screen experience, in addition to notch, punch-hole, and pop-up design. Although the technology is not yet ready for mass production due to the limitation on yield rate and the performance of front camera, we consider it points towards the future with OPPO’s own flavour.

     

  • OPPO demoed its new Mesh Talk technology, which enables the transmission of text message and real-time voice calls among multiple devices in the environment without cellular networks and Wi-Fi. The technology is based on OPPO proprietary communication chipset. According to OPPO, the technology works within 3km in the plain areas with very low power consumptions. We view the technology itself is useful in the extreme environment, but we are concerned that its commercialization will be subject to government approval.
  • vivo presented its latest breakthrough in fast-charging technology. With a customized type-c data cable and charger, the technology achieves 120W power-charging capability which promises to fully charge a smartphone (with 4000mAh battery) within 13 minutes. A vivo’s engineer claims that the technology is ready for the market. It is likely that we will see the technology in vivo’s next 5G devices.
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