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A 5G world is coming. Tech companies at CES show they're ready

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At CES 2018, LG Display unveiled a 65 inch screen that can roll and unroll on demand. CNN Tech's Samuel Burke takes a first look.

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 1:41 PM


More companies are sharing ambitious plans about how we'll live in a 5G world.

This week at CES, the annual tech convention in Las Vegas was filled with demos highlighting the potential of next generation of internet speed.

5G could make the process of loading websites, downloading songs and streaming movies at least 10 times faster than 4G. It's not expected to start replacing 4G in the United States until 2020, but companies such as Verizon, Sprint and AT&T -- CNN's parent company -- aim to launch 5G smartphones this year.

At CES, Verizon detailed how 5G will transfer data at super fast speeds. It showed off how augmented reality could be used in surgeries to help with precision and improve gaming and virtual reality experiences.

"5G is a promise of so much more than we've ever seen of any wireless technology," CEO Hans Vestberg told attendees.

Last year, Verizon brought a broadband-like version of its fixed wireless 5G technology to several US cities. Verizon's 5G Home router converts 5G signal into Wi-Fi for customers' homes. But that version of 5G isn't mobile as of now -- after all, smartphones and cellular devices don't yet support 5G.

Samsung CEO HS Kim said 5G will be intertwined with innovations in artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. The company's demonstration showcased how these technologies could come together in a connected car.

Chipmaker Qualcomm devoted a large portion of its booth to showing off what 5G could potentially do on both smartphones and VR headsets. In one demonstration, a VR headset played a video streamed entirely over a 5G network with no latency.

"We see 5G as being the biggest step yet," Qualcomm's Vice President of Marketing Pete Lancia told CNN Business. "3G brought the internet to your phone, and 4G enabled mobile-only companies like Uber and SnapChat to thrive. To say 5G will have a more profound impact than that is huge."

Intel's booth demonstrated how 5G enables better video game graphics on a laptop.

CES also featured some 5G mobile devices on display, but none are currently available in the US market. For example, Samsung's 5G prototype smartphone was featured under protective glass. The company is expected to launch its first 5G mobile device in the upcoming months.

Qualcomm also displayed 5G devices, which were made for the Chinese market. The devices are thinner than what we'd likely see in the US in the future because of different system requirements for US and Chinese networks.

Although 5G's potential was certainly a major talking point at the event this year, it remains just that for now: potential.

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