At the launch of Realme X last month, Realme confirmed that it will launch a 5G-enabled smartphone as soon as India gets 5G connectivity. The company confirmed that it is working on 5G smartphone, but did not offer details on whether the 5G device will arrive this year or next year. Now, Madhav Sheth, CEO of Realme India, has confirmed that the company will launch its first 5G device in 2019. Sheth revealed the plans to launch Realme’s first 5G smartphone this year on Twitter.
Using the hashtag #5GisReal, Sheth tweeted that Realme will be among first brands to bring 5G products globally this year. He also added that the company is determined to bring the best of technology to India as early as possible. The confirmation from Sheth comes after a meeting with Sky Li, the former VP of Oppo who founded Realme as a separate smartphone brand. In an interview with BGR India during MWC 2019, Rajen Vagadia, President of Qualcomm India, said India will get 5G smartphones in third quarter, several quarters before the arrival of 5G network.
Neither Sheth nor Realme have confirmed whether the company will introduce a new device under its 5G device portfolio or retrofit existing model with 5G support. There are rumors doing the rounds that Realme is considering launching the 5G variant of Realme X, and call it Realme X Pro. While details of Realme’s first 5G smartphone remains scant, it will definitely use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 mobile platform with Snapdragon X50 modem to enable fifth generation mobile telephony.
While Qualcomm is pitching 5G as a real mobile network, the next generation network is still in its infancy. Telecom operators around the world are racing to prepare 5G network before compatible hardware become directly available from retail stores. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G and LG V50 ThinQ 5G are the two mainstream devices to go on sale with 5G support. OnePlus 7 Pro 5G and Huawei Mate 20X 5G are other devices available with 5G support right now.
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While 5G smartphones are becoming available in the market, the network to support gigabit download is not there yet. Only few cities have 5G infrastructure ready and its availability is limited to select pockets. In India, the government is yet to shed light on 5G spectrum auction and telecom operators are waiting for the auction to commence deploying 5G network. Realme’s 5G hardware will shine only when the network becomes commercially available in the country.
To recall, Realme commenced operation as a spin-off brand from Oppo just a year back. Within a short span of time, the brand has become the top five smartphone maker in India and has expanded to other markets like China, Taiwan and plans to enter Europe soon. Last month, it launched Realme X with Snapdragon 710 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 48-megapixel rear camera and a pop-up selfie camera. The device is expected to debut in India during the second half of this year.