THE word “5G” is probably one of the most popular terms of 2018, but not everyone understands the excitement about it.
If you associate fifth-generation Internet technology with only with faster download speeds, you are just partially correct because 5G has so much more in-store for us in the near future.
According to research, if it takes around eight minutes to download a movie on a 4G network, it will only take about 5 seconds to download the same movie on 5G. But like I mentioned, 5G isn’t just for downloading movies and filling up your hard drive. This high-speed network would also enable applications like interactive TV, social gaming, 3D high-definition video, self-driving vehicles, robotics, virtual reality and a lot of other stuff we thought was only possible in those sci-fi movies.
Imagine a world where cars will be able to communicate with passengers, pedestrians, other vehicles, bicycles, traffic lights, toll booths and other parts of the urban infrastructure that could potentially eliminate fatal accidents. Cities would be “smarter” as government agencies will be interconnected and should result to more efficient public service.
We are already using more and more data everyday—from our computers, smartphones, TVs, wearable tech, drones, and even our smart appliances, and all these devices need huge chunks of data to be transmitted faster, requiring a large number of simultaneous connections, more efficiency and lower energy consumption.
It may seem a bit exaggerated now, but in a few years’ time and with an estimated 20 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the world, the Internet would be a very, very crowded space.
This is where 5G becomes crucial, and it’s a good thing our telcos are already getting us ready.
A couple of weeks ago, PLDT Inc.’s wireless unit Smart Communications announced that it has fired up its first 5G cell sites located in the Makati Central Business District and Clark Freeport Zone.
In line with this program, PLDT and Smart are ramping up the rollout of LTE in key areas in CFZ and equipping all of them with 5G facilities in the coming months.
Alongside the MOU signing, Ericsson showcased possible use cases for 5G in an exhibit that featured Ericsson’s Robotic Arm, Balancing Robot, Connected Mangroves and Connected Fleet technologies.
With its capability to deliver extremely high speeds coupled with low latency, 5G opens up exciting possibilities for IoT applications for Filipinos, as well as smart applications for the transport sector, traffic management, manufacturing, airport and mall operations, logistics and warehousing, retail, customer support and smart homes, among others.
PLDT and Smart are best positioned to deploy 5G in the country, armed with both fixed and wireless infrastructure powered by the country’s most extensive fiber network now at over 221,000 kilometers.
Under its current network upgrade program, Smart is installing 5G-compatible radio equipment across its network, which now has over 2,000 5G-ready sites.
Apart from ultra-high speeds, the key features of 5G include enhanced mobile broadband services, massive machine type communications, and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications.
Earlier in August, Smart and Ericsson signed an MOU to deploy the country’s first 5G pilot network by the first half of 2019. Under the MOU, the 5G network will be first deployed in Luzon, the country’s largest and most populous island where about a third of the population work and live.
The 3GPP-compliant 5G Trial System that will be deployed by Smart includes Ericsson 5G RAN, Core and Transport solutions. The 5G pilot deployment will allow Smart to explore industry partnership engagements, collaborate with schools and universities, and further develop competence in 5G.
Smart has been testing 5G since 2016, when it achieved speeds of 2.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps) using 100 MHz with latency of just 1 millisecond over a “live” network—the first in the Philippines.
As part of its 5G preparations, Smart also launched in June its 5G Technolab, the company’s flagship facility for the research and development, standardization and testing of 5G, which is designed to be a sustainable environment for innovative services.
THE OTHER ‘PRO’
Xiaomi, the upstart brand that’s been disrupting the market since it made its return to the Philippines, is at it again, this time challenging the flagships with the local release of the Mi 8 Pro.
The phone has gained a lot of attention for its interesting transparent back that gave users a “peek” of its internals, and whether real or not, you have to admit it’s cool, different and makes the Mi 8 Pro a real converstation starter.
And there’s actually a lot to talk about this phone. The Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro packs some of the usual features that you can find on traditional flagship devices, and a few more extras. It is powered by the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with a 2.8GHz maximum clock speed and the new Qualcomm AdrenoTM 630 GPU.
The platform outperforms its predecessor by up to 30 percent and features a newly introduced DSP architecture with AI performance three times higher than the previous generation. Supported by 8GB LPDDR4x DRAM, Mi 8 Pro can render the most demanding games at high FPS for an unparalleled gaming experience.
On the front, you have a nice 6.21” AMOLED Full Screen Display that offers a startling contrast ratio of 60,000 to 1, meaning incredibly crisp colors and deep, power-saving blacks. It has an 18.7:9 aspect ratio and 86.68 percent screen-to-body ratio, providing an unmatched visual experience that is highly practical and beautiful. And with Always-On display, you have a convenient way to check your notifications, the date, and the time without having to turn the screen on.
On top of the flagship Mi 8 features, Mi 8 Pro takes it one step further with a pressure-sensitive in-screen fingerprint sensor.
Unlike other in-screen fingerprint technologies that constantly ping the screen to see if a finger is present, the dedicated pressure sensor only activates the unlocking process once you place your finger on the screen, which is faster and more power-efficient.
As for the cameras, the Mi 8 Pro has a 12-megapixel (wide) plus 12-megapixel (telephoto) dual cameras on the back with optical image stabilizer. These cameras have earned a high DxOMark score of 105 for photography. The primary sensor, Sony’s IMX363, features massive 1.4µm pixels and dual pixel autofocus, enhancing photo brightness and quality while drastically improving focus speed, especially in low-light conditions. Coupled with handy AI features such as AI portrait and AI beautify, this is one of the best camera setups in the world. For selfies, it has a 20-megapixel snapper.
Aside from the Mi 8 Pro, there’s also the Mi 8 Lite which comes at an even more pocket-friendly pricepoint.
John Chen, Xiaomi director for Southeast Asia, said, “The Mi 8 series has been a hit with Mi fans around the world. We are building on this success as we introduce Mi 8 Lite and Mi 8 Pro to the Philippines, offering more choices to our consumers here and enabling them to enjoy the latest innovations from Xiaomi in time for the Christmas holiday season.”
Stay tuned for our review in the next few weeks.
GREENFIELD BLACK FRIDAY SALE
THE stars have aligned to make the big year-ender events of Greenfield Development Corp. truly memorable. On the weekend of November 23 to 25, Greenfield City’s Paseo Outlets, Laguna Central and Arcadia, in Santa Rosa, Laguna, are going to have the most-awaited Black Friday Weekend Sale—the first to hold such event across all three malls in the area.
Brands like Nike, adidas, Converse, Levi’s, Giordano, Oakley Vault and many more will have its biggest sale this year.
Head over to Paseo Outlets’ Black Friday Weekend Sale, as you might also get to shop with your favorite celebrity influencers.
Star-studded back-to-back affairs also await as Greenfield District in Mandaluyong and Greenfield City in Sta. Rosa celebrate their annual Celebrity Christmas Market and Bazaar.
On December 2 discover more than just great bargains at the Celebrity Christmas Market in Paseo Outlets in Santa Rosa, Laguna. Aside from surprising shopping finds, get to meet some of the country’s biggest celebrities as they participate in their very own selling booths.
Then, the excitement continues the next weekend, December 9, as Greenfield District mounts its own Celebrity Christmas Bazaar.