Samsung & LG Will Debut 5G Smartphones At MWC 2019

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A new report out of South Korea claims that both Samsung and LG will introduce their first-generation 5G-capable smartphones at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona scheduled this February. Furthermore, the publication claims that the two companies plan to launch their devices by March 2019. For Samsung Electronics, this latest report contradicts some of the earlier rumors which state that the company will launch its 5G-capable handset later than the other models of its flagship smartphone lineup, the Samsung Galaxy S10.

Also according to the report, LG initially wanted to launch its 5G handset in South Korea and the United States in May 2019, although the new managers that lead its mobile phone business decided to launch its latest devices sooner to take advantage of the launch of 5G services with the hopes of turning around the fortunes of the unit. While there is little information available about LG's upcoming 5G smartphone, rumors claim that the company will launch an update to LG G7 ThinQ at the MWC 2019.

Background: Numerous rumors have shown that Samsung Electronics will launch four models of the Galaxy S10. Reports claim that three of these models will be 4G-only devices, and earlier leaks state that Samsung will name the smartphones like the Galaxy S10 Lite, the Galaxy S10, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. Meanwhile, recent rumors claim that there will be two models of the 5G-capable Galaxy S10 and that Samsung will sell the handset in South Korea and the United States. Aside from the rumored 5G capabilities, this handset will also reportedly ship with hardware features not found in other variants of the Galaxy S10 series. For example, the 5G Galaxy S10 is rumored to include four rear cameras and two front-facing shooters. The presence of dual shooters should result in improved spatial perception and richer image colors compared to the competition. Moreover, according to reports, the 5G Galaxy S10 will have 12GB of RAM and 1TB of internal flash storage, which are both significantly larger than the RAM and storage capacities found in the three 4G-only variants of Samsung's upcoming smartphone lineup.

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Little is known about LG's 5G smartphone, although like the company's previous flagship devices, the handset will feature the Snapdragon 855 chipset and the Snapdragon X50 5G modem from Qualcomm. The Snapdragon 855 chipset includes the octa-core Kryo 485 CPU and the Adreno 640 GPU, and it also features the fourth-generation AI engine which offers three times the performance in artificial intelligence tasks compared to the chipset's predecessor. On the other hand, the Snapdragon X50 modem coupled with the Snapdragon 855 SoC supports both the sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G networks, although the chipset also comes with the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, which still allows handsets to achieve multi-gigabit speeds over existing LTE networks. This chipset will also likely power the model of the 5G Galaxy S10 that Samsung will sell in the United States.

Impact: LG's decision to launch its 5G smartphone earlier than initially reported shows that the company's mobile phone division, headed by Hwang Jeong-hwan since late 2017, is taking steps to regain market share and make the unit profitable, and consumers should expect more changes from LG Electronics soon. On the other hand, while more sources report the existence of the 5G Galaxy S10, there is little information on when the device will launch, and the deployment of 5G networks by Samsung's carrier partners could influence the availability of the smartphone.