5G Is Finally Becoming Real

Qualcomm is one step closer to bringing 5G to a smartphone near you.

The company announced on Monday (Oct. 16) that it successfully completed its first 5G connection test on a smartphone. According to The Verge, which reported earlier on the test, Qualcomm used an X50 5G modem and performed the test over the 28GHz millimeter wave frequency. The phone was able to generate gigabit speeds, but according to Qualcomm, will be able to nab speeds up to 5 Gbps when it's on the market.

Credit: Qualcomm

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

To help smartphone makers move into the 5G space, Qualcomm also unveiled a new smartphone reference design that's built for 5G

connectivity. The smartphone will use the X50 modem. Qualcomm also plans to work with companies around the globe to see how they incorporate and test 5G in their smartphones.

While the Qualcomm reference smartphone won't ever come to store shelves, the company didn't skimp on its features. The handset comes with a screen that covers its entire face, and has two edges on either side, similar to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. There's also a dual-lens camera on the back. The smartphone reference is a little on the thick side, though, at 9 mm.

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Qualcomm is one of several companies vying for a piece of the 5G market. Other manufacturers, like Ericsson, are also testing 5G connectivity, and carriers have been investing heavily in getting their networks ready. While no one's certain exactly when 5G networks might deploy, Qualcomm expects to be testing its technologies for the next couple of years before they make their way to customers.

If and when 5G finally launches, it will deliver exceedingly fast speeds and allow for everything from better connectivity for Internet of Things devices, to the ability for self-driving cars to communicate with each other. The rollout will probably take a considerable amount of time, but the technology may dramatically change the way the world connects to the Internet.