First-gen 5G smartphones will be chunky and guzzle power
Reports of Huawei choosing a supplier for large heat dissipation sheets all but confirms the first wave of 5G smartphones will be chunky and guzzle power.
Huawei wants to be among the first to launch a 5G smartphone and plans to do so in less than a year. Industry rumours put the release around June 2019.
The company is said to have decided on Taiwan-based Auras Technology for its cooling modules. While refraining from commenting directly on the rumours, Auras Chairman YS Lin said that smartphone manufacturers will require higher performance thermal solutions for 5G.
Huawei is said to be using large (for smartphone standards) 0.4mm copper sheets from Auras to dissipate the heat generated by 5G’s high transfer rates.
Copper sheets are more costly than graphite sheets used in today’s smartphones. This cost will likely be passed onto the consumer, but it’s doubtful many didn’t expect to be paying a premium for early 5G devices.
A decision to use large copper sheets alone will increase the thickness of first-gen 5G smartphones. In the pursuit of slimmer devices, current smartphones leave scant room for larger components.
Huawei's rotating CEO Eric Xu said the first generation of Huawei’s chips will provide over five times greater performance than 4G chips but at the cost of power consumption around 2.5 times higher.
This increased power consumption will require the battery to be made larger or performance will likely be reduced from previous devices.
Huawei’s recent devices such as the P20 and Mate 10 have gained notoriety for having some of the longest-lasting batteries available. Part of this performance is from the AI optimisations provided by the dedicated chip in its latest devices which the company may be able to improve further to limit battery size increases.
A reduction in battery life would still put Huawei ahead of some of its competitors, so it has more room to play with here than many rivals. Some manufacturers are working to stricter constraints based on their current 4G devices.
New generation launches often marred with issues to overcome. Aside from early-adopters willing to put up with these initial problems, it’s likely consumers would be smart to wait until 5G devices and networks have matured.
Do you foresee any problems with first-gen 5G devices? Let us know in the comments.
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