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BARCELONA—The 5G era may be the end of the storage race in phones. As Samsung deploys its 1TB Galaxy S10+ and SanDisk shows off a 1TB microSD card, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said on a panel here at MWC19 that super-fast cloud access may make these giant levels of local storage obsolete.
“People are now concerned with the size of storage on their device for the sake of storing more photos, but [5G] will allow for more immediate cloud storage,” Lau said. “That will allow people to no longer focus on whether the phone has 128GB of 512GB of storage, and it will enable a total change in our photography experience on the device.”
Swapping 5G for storage could help balance out phone prices, as well. Samsung charges a $600 premium to go from 128GB of storage to 1TB, and SanDisk is currently charging $450 for its massive tiny storage card.
Now, before you fill the comments section with complaints about 5G coverage, Lau isn’t talking about next year. He identified three phases in what he sees as 5G’s evolution. We’re in the starter phase now. Starting in 2021, “5G plus AI plus cloud functionality” will take over and greatly enhance smart assistants, he said. Then, in 2025, we’ll enter the “age of the unleashing of the Internet of Things.”
Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon, speaking on the same panel, said 5G game streaming could kill game consoles. Or at least make it so you never need to upgrade their hardware.
“We’re going to see a scenario where eventually there will be no need for new consoles,” he said. “There will be unlimited processing capability at the edge.”
On the new networks, 95 percent of video content will be streamed in 4K, breaking down operators’ current video-throttling walls, and social networking will become “live broadcasting of virtual presence,” Amon said.
Now, before you say that sounds crazy, I saw a demo of that sort of virtual presence from Spatial using the HoloLens 2. Enhanced with 5G, full-size AR avatars become very possible. Microsoft’s Greg Sullivan told me consumers may be able to have that experience in years, not decades, putting it potentially in line with a 2025 time frame.
To help accelerate disruptive 5G app development, OnePlus is running an app development ideas contest between now and March 26, where five winners will get devices, test environments, and “financial support for one year.” You can sign up at OnePlus.com/5G.
This article originally published at PCMag