At Google I/O, 5G Gives Developers a Vision of the Future

For Android users and other Google fans, mid-May is almost like a holiday. Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, is held during the second week of the month, and I/O 2019, the twelfth iteration, wrapped up on Thursday. The conference, generally hosted in the company’s home city of Mountain View, California, draws developers, technologists, academics, and reporters from around the world to discuss some of the latest advancements in the tech industry, and, just as importantly, what developments are just on the horizon.

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In its first year, for example, in 2008, much of the conversation at Google I/O revolved around the recently announced Android operating system and the Google Maps API. Since then, Android has remained a key topic of the conference, often when details on the latest versions and flagship devices are announced.

This year, talk at Google I/O was dominated by half a dozen topics: Android Q, Duplex, Google Assistant 2.0, machine learning, new Pixel phones, and the future of smartphones more broadly. One element powering that discussion was a recent breakthrough: virtually all major Android OEMs are scheduled to launch flagship 5G smartphones based on the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855 Mobile Platform. Qualcomm Technologies also worked with Google to update developer tools for support of 5G in the upcoming Android Q operating system, which app creators can use to take advantage of the increase in connectivity speed and responsiveness beyond what’s possible on 4G devices. Already, many 5G-compatible phones are hitting the shelves, featuring support for the speed and responsiveness that are essential to data-intensive experiences, such as group video chats and collaboration, augmented reality, and cloud gaming.

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At this year’s conference, Qualcomm Technologies collaborated with Google on a series of events with developers and attendees to further envision this future, and help them see their ideas come to life. Among them was a workshop held on May 9 called “Thinking in 5G,” which helped introduce app developers to 5G and get them thinking about how the technology can be applied in more specific use cases. Some of the concepts that were crafted during the session included ideas that: allowed musicians to stream their music sessions together, jamming live; let sports fans stream games from the point of view of specific players or receive personalized stats; and an augmented reality capture the flag game.

To make these new experiences possible, 5G supports multi-gigabit speeds, which are multiple times what even today’s mainstream 4G LTE can offer. The advantages go beyond just speed, though. As Digital Trends reports, 5G offers significant improvements in latency times, or the amount of time it takes data to travel from one device to another—an incredibly important benchmark for gaming, augmented reality, real-time group collaboration, and watch parties for live events.

With the announcement of the latest 5G devices — from LG, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Samsung, Xiaomi, and others—Android users are primed to experience the latest revolution in mobile technology. For example, with such fast access to the internet, processing and storage can increasingly move to the cloud. Furthermore, 5G can be easily applied to more than just smartphones, greatly expanding what’s capable for interconnected devices including 5G PCs, cars, augmented reality viewers and more.

The kind of experiences that 5G will bring are only just being imagined, but the technology will be here, at-the-ready, on devices made by almost all of the major Android smartphone manufacturers launching this year. In addition, all of the major service providers in the United States are in the process of implementing their 5G networks. At Google I/O 2019, Sprint (which begins rolling out its 5G network this month) gave a glimpse of the possibilities by demoing 5G on an LG V50 ThinQ 5G, a phone powered by a Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform. In the demo, users were able to interact with the surrounding environment, issuing commands without even touching the phone, but rather through gestures. In the coming months, experts expect such prototypes to make their way into the world, made capable by 5G-compatible devices and advanced cellular networks. The opportunities that 5G opens for developers are near limitless.

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Digital Trends has been covering the whole range of developments, while Qualcomm Technologies has published detailed looks at the possibilities 5G unlocks. After I/O 2019, though, it’s clear that this particular future is practically here: 5G phones are becoming available this year. At Digital Trends and Qualcomm’s 5G phone marketplace, you can find the right 5G phone for you and be among the first to experience the benefits of this new technology.

Content sponsored by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.