- Google is developing a 5G version of its Pixel smartphone that may be previewed as early as next week, Nikkei Asian Review reported. If an announcement is in the works, Google would be positioned to release a next-generation smartphone before Apple, which isn't expected to announce a 5G iPhone until next year.
- However, a 5G preview may be unlikely because it would undercut sales of the Pixel 4 smartphone that will be unveiled at a product event on Oct. 15, MarketWatch reported, citing an unnamed source.
- In addition to its latest smartphone lineup, Google is set to reveal a new smartwatch and laptop at next week's event, per MarketWatch. Market leader Samsung Electronics and second-ranked Huawei Technologies already have released 5G smartphones.
The conflicting reports about Google's plans for a 5G smartphone are generating plenty of buzz, and it's still unclear whether the tech giant will unveil a next-generation model of its Pixel phone alongside its other hardware announcements. The introduction of a 5G phone would be significant for Google, whose Pixel phones haven't carved out much market share despite getting rave reviews for their excellent camera features. A 5G Pixel may have more appeal among people who are familiar with the Android mobile operating system that's used by most smartphone manufacturers, a keen marketing strategy that focuses on deepening long-term loyalty among current customers rather than working to woo iOS users to abandon their iPhones.
For mobile marketers, 5G is being billed as a panacea for a variety of challenges, with higher download speeds that promises to help ad viewability, offer richer mobile experiences, strengthen Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and more. It could also drive augmented reality shopping to 100 million consumers by next year, Gartner estimates.
Among smartphone makers, Samsung took an early lead in 5G with this year's rollout of its Galaxy S10, which included a next-generation model priced at $1,300 in the U.S. The South Korean electronics giant has seen particular strength in its home country, where 1 million people signed up for 5G service in the first 70 days of rollout.
5G sales will grow from less than 1% of the smartphone market this year to 10% in 2020 as consumer adoption jumps and more providers offer the wireless service, per a forecast by consulting firm Strategy Analytics. Global unit sales of 5G smartphones will exceed 1 billion by 2025 as electronics companies make handsets with a broader range of prices and wireless carriers continue to build out their next-generation networks, the firm said.