It may have been hidden in a thick plastic case and locked in a plastic cube, but the MWC 2019 OnePlus has first shown a prototype of its first 5G phone. The device is connected to a local 5G base station with a mmWave connection, a 5G version that focuses on high bandwidth at the expense of the bandwidth. Over the past few days, the company has recently confirmed via a Finnish carrier that it expects to release it in the second quarter of this year.
In addition to showing what is happening on the device screen, OnePlus did not share too many new details about the device except to say it is a brand new device, not an upgrade to an existing phone. However, the company said the device could reach a maximum speed of 500 Mbps, although the demo content (60 fps HD stream) uses only about 15 Mbps. It also looked like the screen of the device had nothing, though it could have been hidden for these demonstrations.
Earlier, OnePlus confirmed that the phone would be equipped with a Snapdragon 855 processor, and Chief Executive Officer said it would probably cost $ 200 to $ 300 more than 4G equivalent.
The content displayed on the 5G device was a stream of Ace Combat 7 provided by Shadow, a cloud game service between different platforms. Although we were unable to play a game using the touch screen on the phone, we were equipped with an Xbox One controller that was connected to the phone via Bluetooth. The game itself is transmitted directly from the cloud from a server located in Amsterdam.
Since the 5G network in Spain is not yet widely available, the actual 5G part of the link is limited to a small mmWave base station installed through the Qualcomm stand. From this base station, traffic passes through the more traditional internet network to the cloud-based server.
This setting meant that there are many variables that affect the connection speed. Whether this is the Bluetooth connection of the controller or the fact that the phone communicates with a remote server over a network that is predominantly not 5G, the game itself is lagging behind. I would push an analog stick and half a second later the plane on the screen would react. Playing a complete computer game on a mobile phone is new as proof of the concept, but the demonstration does not show how 5G can make it viable.
Eventually, the demonstration raised some unpleasant issues about the realities of early 5G deployment. Without broad support from telecoms, there will still be many barriers in the network that will limit its potential speed. Then, as services like Shadow were originally designed to work on 4G networks, they would not want to rely too much on the needy speeds that 5G can do. I have no doubt that the 70 Mbps connection needed for a 4K game flow will be possible one day, but we are not there yet.