Sprint on Wednesday announced that it’s working with HTC to make a “powerful 5G mobile smart hub” that will launch at some point in the first half of 2019. But from the get-go, the carrier’s press release tells us there’s not much it can share about said gadget: “the device name, feature specifications, and timing will be shared at a later date,” which makes this 5G mobile hotspot gadget sound like vaporware.
That’s not to say Sprint and HTC aren’t going to release this “advanced device will deliver multimedia and connected data capabilities in a compact and portable design” next year. But, for the time being, specific details about the gadget are not available. We have no idea how much it’ll cost either. Images of this HTC product were not shared either.
It’s also unclear whether HTC’s unnamed device would continue to work after T-Mobile and Sprint complete their merger.
What Sprint did say is that HTC will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem to make the mobile hotspot. That’s hardly a surprise, considering that the X50 is expected to power several other 5G devices next year.
What’s important to note is that the 5G mobile smart hub will let users access Sprint’s 5G network on their existing smartphones, laptops, and tablets. That means you should be able to test out 5G without waiting for your favorite smartphone vendor to launch a 5G handset. However, Sprint’s 5G will roll out initially in only nine markets, so you’ll only have Sprint 5G support in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. at first.
The HTC gadget will be Sprint’s second 5G device next year. A few months ago, the carrier announced a partnership with LG for a 5G smartphone, although we don’t have any specific details about that product either.
Samsung is expected to unveil a 5G version of the Galaxy S10 next year, with a recent report saying that Verizon may get an exclusive deal. OnePlus is one other handset maker that confirmed it’ll launch a 5G phone next year. In China, Xiaomi already announced that one of its latest flagships would come in a 5G version, but that model isn’t yet available to buyers.