Moto Z3 is the world's first smartphone to support 5G – kind of

With relatively little fanfare, the world’s first smartphone that will technically support 5G networks has been announced.

Smartphone manufacturers bragged of their intentions to be first, industry fans placed their bets on who actually will be… all while Motorola quietly announced the Z3 with 5G support.

To be clear, the support will be added using the Z-series’ infamous Moto Mods.

Moto Mods have often been called a gimmick, but as we near the next generation of mobile technology it goes to show how a modular design can be useful.

The Z3 launches on Verizon on August 16th. Elsewhere it’s a nice phone but fairly standard for a 2018 smartphone – a 6-inch Super AMOLED screen, small bezels, dual rear 12-megapixel cameras, and 8-megapixel front camera.

Questionably, it uses a last-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip. However, it’s still plenty of power for most and it’s not the real star of the show.

As its 5G network rollout continues, Verizon customers will be able to access it from their Motorola Z3 using a clip-on 5G Moto Mod capable of speeds up to 5Gbps.

The mod achieves its 5G connectivity using four millimetre-wave modules located in the front, side, and rear to ensure a reliable connection no matter what orientation the phone's held in.

A built-in 2,000 mAh battery will help compensate for the increased consumption of 5G-enabled experiences such as real-time VR and 4K streams.

No pricing has been announced yet, but Motorola is targeting an early-2019 launch. Verizon currently has a 5G network live in three U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Houston.

What are your thoughts on the “first” 5G-capable smartphone? Let us know in the comments. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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9 Aug 2018, 3:43 p.m.

Who cares
That is my impression when I hear about a consumer focused mobility device that support 5G. This is a solution in search of a problem in the absence of any real life app to take advantage of 5G speed and low latency. It is more practical to think of 5G as a platform for connecting 'Things', millions and billions of them with various speed and connection characteristics from manufacturing plants to agriculture machines to top-of-building broadband. Not necessary a handheld device, like a phone, yet.

I am pretty sure device manufactures would love to have the 5G badge on their sets so they could claim the crown, and the premium, for it. But these units will set on the shelves for couple of years at least until apps for AR/VR or others mature to warrant the demand AND carriers actually finish building the network infrastructure to support it.