Qualcomm and Lenovo have unveiled a 5G-enabled laptop based on the Snapdragon 8cx 5G Compute Platform and leveraging the Windows on Snapdragon initiative, at CES 2020 today. The Lenovo Yoga 5G is being billed as the “world’s first 5G PC” and is the culmination of the work done on the ‘Project Limitless’ concept first shown off at Computex 2019. The ultraportable 2-in-1 runs Windows 10 and is designed for use cases that centre around always-on 5G connectivity. It is capable of using the mm wave as well as sub-6Ghz bands. The device will go on sale starting at $1,499 (approximately Rs. 1,06,000) in spring 2020 in some parts of the world.
Lenovo’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Consumer Business and Intelligent Devices Group, Johnson Jia, joined Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon on stage at the latter’s press conference to unveil the Lenovo Yoga 5G. Key innovations that he highlighted were a unique antenna design that preserves 5G connectivity no matter whether the device is used as a laptop or tablet; improved heat dissipation compared to previous-generation products in a thin-and-light fanless body; and adaptive fast charging.
The company is promising 24 hours of battery life. As for other specifications, Jia announced that the device has a 14-inch full-HD IPS touchscreen, an integrated fingerprint reader plus IR camera for Windows Hello security, Dolby Atmos sound enhancement, and eSIM support.
Potential use cases for 5G connectivity with low latency include high-resolution video streaming, faster file transfers, real-time video chats on the go, and responsive gaming. Jia also touted the potential of a personal 5G cellular data connection being more secure than a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
Jia and Amon characterised this launch as just one product in a long line of planned devices. The companies also said they are interested in partnering with mobile network operators and cloud service providers to bring faster, easier, and more secure experiences to more people.
Also at the Qualcomm press conference, Amon discussed momentum for the recently announced Snapdragon 865 SoC with integrated 5G, which will be seen in new flagship products from Oppo and Xiaomi in Q1 2020, as well as Motorola at an unspecified point in 2020.
According to Amon, 2020 is the year that 5G is expected to scale out, driving demand for new smartphones even in mature markets. One billion 5G connections are expected by 2023, which will be two years quicker than 4G took to reach the same audience. That number will rise to 2.8 billion by 2025. He also characterised the 2X increase in design wins for the Snapdragon 865 compared to the Snapdragon 855 as “a very important sign that the market is moving towards 5G smartphones on a global scale”. He also added “The best 4G phone you can buy today is a 5G smartphone”.
The lower-end 5G-enabled Snapdragon 765 and 765G SoCs have also achieved 2.5X the traction of previous-gen Snapdragon 7xx models, with the first smartphone already launched by Oppo for the Chinese domestic market.
Another growth area for 5G is expected to be fixed wireless connections for homes, offices, or other premises. The combination of 5G for Internet access and Wi-Fi 6 for local connection sharing has also gained traction with 34 OEMs developing Snapdragon 855-based CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) hardware.
Disclosure – Intel sponsored the correspondent’s flights and hotels for CES 2020 in Las Vegas.
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