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5G isn’t ready for me

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Don’t fool yourself. It’s not ready for you, either.

Over the spring and summer, the first 5G networks lit up over the US, with all the major carriers offering a 5G service of some kind. However, there are still only a few compatible phones to go around, the best of which is probably Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G. It’s practically an entirely new phone. Samsung substantially upgraded its S10 with more cameras (six) and a third more battery than the standard S10 — more capacity than the S10 Plus, too. It’s an impressive phone on paper even before considering that it’s made for next-gen 5G networks.

It’s been a few months since Chris Velazco tested 5G networks at launch in Chicago, so it was time for another network test — this time, on the other side of the Atlantic. The plan was simple enough: pit the Galaxy S10 5G against the Galaxy S10 OG in London, UK. Vodafone provided both phones, so we could see how the phones fared on the same network.

Now, the state of the UK’s 5G is a little behind the US, despite the stark size difference between the two countries. Two carriers, EE and Vodafone, already have working 5G networks across a handful of cities and areas. Meanwhile, the UK’s other two networks, O2 and Three, will launch their 5G services later this year. Vodaphone recently expanded its next-gen network further, so it seemed like a good time to see how far its 5G network has come. TL;DR: it still has a long way to go.

You’ve heard the 5G sales pitch a hundred times before, regardless of carrier or country. Incredible leaps in data speeds, more reliability, new use cases. Gaming in the cloud! Instant 4K streaming! Stuff we can’t even imagine yet!

So, with Ookla’s SpeedTest, Netflix, a bunch of app updates and some Fortnite grudge matches, I headed out in search of 5G.

That search took longer than expected, though things were made easier by a heat map, provided by Vodafone online, here. It attempts to show service availability, and while it helped my search, 5G spots are, well, spotty.

Over a few weeks’ testing, the Galaxy S10 5G mostly kept itself on 4G. Once I picked up a Galaxy S10 to compare, I found the 5G model was largely matching the data speeds of the 4G one, even when I managed to trigger a 5G connection. Speed is meant to be the easy-to-communicate benefit of 5G; carriers say the service will be ten times faster than current 4G LTE speeds — if everything works as it should. This is a very hard thing to measure in the early days of 5G.

Independent tests show Vodafone’s 4G data speeds circle around 20Mbps, on average. And with 5G, the phone network is promising average speeds of 150 to 200Mbps and peak speeds that will reach 1Gbps.

According to other tests, like Tom’s Guide, 5G networks in the US are already seeing max download speeds that are almost three times faster than the peaks on 4G LTE networks, at a blistering 1.8 Gbps versus 678 Mbps. But that’s just optimistic talk of perfect conditions — the realities of signal reception are going to ruin those speeds.

The visible difference, for me, came less from blazing data speeds and more from reliability. As 4G signal choked on the Galaxy S10, the S10 5G came into its own, generally giving sub 200 Mbps data speeds, when 4G devices struggled to give me 20 Mbps. (It’s that 10-times speed thing — just not quite as high-speed as I’d hoped.)

When I had 5G signal, Netflix episodes downloaded twice as fast as on 4G, and perhaps the most visible proof of 5G’s potential, streaming and scrubbing through to midway of an episode took seconds, while on 4G, it had to really think about it. Sadly, my outdoors Fortnite tests came undone over a mere 4GB update (possible on 4G and 5G, yes, but life is too short), so I took the phones back to the office to play.

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While playing, there weren’t any notable differences between the two S10 models, both with more than enough graphical power to handle Fortnite. Both gave me a reliable steady connection — I mean, plenty of people test fate by playing Fortnite on mobile data already.

So, it’s probably the conclusion you were expecting: 5G will be great when it gets here. But that’s not right now. The good news, though, is that 4G networks are going from strength to strength, at least in urban areas. But that makes the advancements of 5G harder to cheerlead in a pithy paragraph, and perhaps for carriers, harder to hinge the sale of a new smartphone on. And if my mileage varied hugely, imagine the chances of hooking a 5G signal outside major cities. Carriers are rolling out the service slowly, adding cities and expanding coverage, but it’s a process that takes time. It’s highly likely this is why rumors about Apple’s new iPhones suggest no 5G capabilities. Not yet.

If you’re looking for a Samsung phone ready for a next-gen service, you can probably wait until 2020. The S10 5G is gorgeous and capable and has a big ole battery. But it’s marquee feature doesn’t make enough impact.

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The Future

Galaxy fans are in for a treat: Here’s a first look at how the Samsung Galaxy S11 and S11 Plus might look like

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If renders based on Samsung’s recent patents turn out to be accurate, the upcoming Galaxy S11 and S11 Plus could offer a unique take on the slide phone concept. Renders seem to suggest that the Galaxy S11 could use a rolling display that can be extended upwards by about 25%. The slider display uses a ‘waterfall’ design with flowing icons and also conceals the rear multi-camera setup.

With the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ launching to rave reviews, it’s time once again to speculate on Samsung’s next big release, the Galaxy S11. We are still quite some time away from knowing some of the meaty details of the device, but Dutch site LetsGoDigital has managed to create a few renders based on patents filed by Samsung with the USPTO.

If the patent indeed bears fruition in the Galaxy S11, we may see the return of the slider phone in true Samsung style. At the outset, the Galaxy S11 looks like any other regular candybar phone. We get to see a display with rounded edges similar to the Galaxy S and Note series. This time though, Samsung would further extend the curvature of the screen halfway to the sides creating a “waterfall” design. However, there seems to be more to the display than meets the eye.

The patent describes a metal slider on the edges of the phone. By sliding upwards, the screen further extends by about 25%. This is possible via a drive shaft in the metal housing along which the flexible display can bend and roll in or roll out. Moreover, the waterfall design is only applicable to the upper part of the display while the lower part of the screen along the metal frame is flat. This prevents wrinkling of the screen as you slide it up and down. Once extended, the upper part of the waterfall display offers icons that you can scroll through among various other functions. 

Details about the Galaxy S11’s cameras are still elusive (108 MP with 10x optical zoom, anyone?), but we can expect at least a three or four camera system at the back and possibly more than one camera at the front. The rear cameras are accessible only when the display is slid up and are otherwise protected inside the housing.

LetsGoDigital has used Samsung’s patent as a reference while implementing some of the features already found in the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus including a double-punch hole front camera and the placement of buttons and connectors. 

At this moment, these are just renders based on a patent and we might not even get to see such a design in the final product. That being said, these design renders sure look suave and are worthy of being implemented in the upcoming Galaxy S11 and S11 Plus. What do you think?

Samsung patent for a slider display. (Source: LetsGoDigital)
Samsung patent for a slider display. (Source: LetsGoDigital)
The sliding concept could debut with the Galaxy S11 and Galaxy S11 Plus. (Source: LetsGoDigital)
The sliding concept could debut with the Galaxy S11 and Galaxy S11 Plus. (Source: LetsGoDigital)
The sliding mechanism extends the display area by about 25%. (Source: LetsGoDigital)
The sliding mechanism extends the display area by about 25%. (Source: LetsGoDigital)

Source: https://www.notebookcheck.net/Galaxy-fans-are-in-for-a-treat-Here-s-a-first-look-at-how-the-Samsung-Galaxy-S11-and-S11-Plus-might-look-like.434906.0.html

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The Future of 5G: Comparing 3 Generations of Wireless Technology

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Wireless technology has evolved rapidly since the turn of the century. From voice-only 2G capabilities and internet-enabled 3G, today’s ecosystem of wireless activity is founded on the reliable connection of 4G.

Fifth-generation wireless network technology, better known as 5G, is now being rolled out in major cities worldwide. By 2024, an estimated 1.5 billion mobile users─which account for 40% of current global activity─will be using 5G wireless networks.

Today’s chart highlights three generations of wireless technology in the 21st century, and the differences between 3G, 4G, and 5G networks.

5G: The Next Great Thing?

With over 5 billion mobile users worldwide, our world is growing more connected than ever.

Data from GSMA Intelligence shows how rapidly global traffic could grow across different networks:

  • 2018: 43% of mobile users on 4G
  • 2025: 59% of mobile users on 4G, 15% of mobile users on 5G

But as with any new innovation, consumers should expect both positives and negatives as the technology matures.

Benefits

  • IoT Connectivity
    5G networks will significantly optimize communication between the Internet of Things (IoT) devices to make our lives more convenient.
  • Low latency
    Also known as lag, latency is the time it takes for data to be transferred over networks. Users may see latency rates drop as low as one millisecond.
  • High speeds
    Real-time streaming may soon be a reality through 5G networks. Downloading a two-hour movie takes a whopping 26 hours over 3G networks and roughly six minutes on 4G networks─however, it’ll only take 3.6 seconds over 5G.

Drawbacks

  • Distance from nodes
    Walls, trees, and even rain can significantly block 5G wireless signals.
  • Requires many nodes
    Many 5G nodes will need to be installed to offer the same level of coverage found on 4G.
  • Restricted to 5G-enabled devices
    Users can’t simply upgrade their software. Instead, they will need a 5G-enabled device to access the network.

Global 5G Networks

5G still has a way to go before it reaches mainstream adoption. Meanwhile, countries and cities are racing to install the infrastructure needed for the next wave of innovation to hit.

Since late 2018, over 25 countries have deployed 5G wireless networks. Notable achievements include South Korea, which became the first country globally to launch 5G wireless technology in April 2019. Switzerland boasts the highest number of 5G network deployments, currently at 225 and counting.

To date, China has built roughly 350,000 5G sites─compared to the less than 20,000 in the U.S.─and plans to invest an additional US$400 billion in infrastructure by 2023. Chinese mobile providers plan to launch 5G services starting in 2020.

What Does This Mean For 4G?

4G isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As 5G gradually rolls out, 4G and 5G networks will need to work together to support the wave of IoT devices entering the market. This network piggybacking also has the potential to expand global access to the internet in the future.

The race to dominate the wireless waves is even pushing companies like China’s Huawei to explore 6G wireless innovation─before they’ve even launched their 5G networks.

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The Future

MIUI 11 leak reveals new design, icons, and features for Xiaomi smartphones

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Unlike OnePlus, Samsung, and Huawei, Xiaomi doesn’t tie new versions of its Android skin, called MIUI, to new Android OS releases. MIUI 10 is available for dozens of Xiaomi smartphones, and depending on the phone, it’ll be layered on top of Android 7 Nougat, Android 8 Oreo, or Android 9 Pie. Earlier this year, Xiaomi announced that development had begun on MIUI 11 and that the new MIUI version will introduce new icons and features like a system-wide dark mode, ultra power saving mode, and more. These features have already made their way into MIUI 10, though, so we’re expecting to see other changes that haven’t been announced. Fortunately for us, Xiaomi accidentally rolled out MIUI 11 for a handful of devices, including the Redmi K20 Pro, Mi Mix 2S, and Mi 6, giving us an early look at Xiaomi’s next Android release.

Download links for the closed beta MIUI 11 9.9.9 were briefly publicly accessible, allowing many users to grab the firmware and flash to their own devices. The builds contain code that overlay the device’s IMEI all over the UI, so we had to blur many of the screenshots below. XDA Recognized Developer erfanoabdi modified the system image to make it flashable on other devices, allowing users to install it even on non-Xiaomi devices. The screenshots without any visible blurring were taken from a device running this unofficial MIUI 11 system image.

New Icons

As promised, we can see the new iconography used in Xiaomi’s Android skin. The icons are colorful, but there doesn’t seem to be consistency in size or shape unlike stock Android 10.

MIUI 11 settings
MIUI 11 settings
MIUI 11 settings

New Design

The motto for MIUI 11 is “Empowering the productive,” and the design uses a lot of empty white space and big, bold text throughout. One of the screenshots shows off the new design in more system apps, and interestingly, there’s a reference to the upcoming Xiaomi Mi 9 Pro 5G.

MIUI 11 motto

New Features

In terms of features, we can see that MIUI 11 will bring the new cross-device file sharing implementation that Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo are collaborating on. The new MIUI Always on Display features include changing the text color automatically over time, adding a Kaleidoscope-style which has 5 different patterns that rotate each time you turn the screen on, an outer space style that changes the light depending on the sunrise/sunset schedule at your location, and more customization options. There’s also a new “dynamic sounds” feature, a new Xiaomi Community app, a redesigned file manager (that we’ve previously seen), dark mode scheduler, and quick replies for some messaging apps.

MIUI 11 features
MIUI 11 features
MIUI 11 features

This is an early, pre-release build of MIUI 11 for Xiaomi devices. We’re unsure if these builds contain all of the release features. We’ll keep an eye out on forum activity both on XDA and Weibo, as well as Telegram channels to follow the latest developments of Xiaomi’s MIUI software.

Source: https://www.xda-developers.com/miui-11-leak-new-design-icons-features/

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