HTC has unveiled its 5G Hub at the MWC in Barcelona. The HTC 5G Smart Hub allows wireless 4K video streaming or low-latency gaming with VR headsets like the HTC Vive. Thanks to the hotspot function you can also network up to 20 devices with Wi-Fi the old-fashioned way.
Slowly but surely 5G is becoming tangible. The added value of the new technology is becoming more concrete; HTC will market its now unveiled 5G Smart Hub from the second quarter of 2019 onward. It contains a lot of hardware that we already know from smartphones: a Snapdragon 855 from Qualcomm (including a X50 5G modem), Android Pie, 5 inch HD touchscreen and a fat 7,660 mAh battery. It measures 129 x 100 x 43 millimeters and weighs only 340 grams. However, in the press photos the device looks much bigger than it really is.
The idea behind the HTC 5G Hub is to connect your devices on the go, at work or at home for file sharing, streaming or gaming. The 5G speed should be well above 4G or LTE. Cloud-based virtual reality services should be stream-able from the cloud to the Vive headset in real time and wirelessly. Compared to Wi-Fi, you benefit from lower latency and an easier setup.
Using the HTC 5G Hub as your media center, you can stream 4K wireless video to a compatible screen. Thanks to its hotspot functionality, it can theoretically replace your home Wi-Fi router, but is limited to 20 users. You can then theoretically connect further Wi-Fi access points such as Google Wi-Fi or a Netgear Orbi to the Ethernet port.
The HTC 5G Hub also provides an encrypted VPN for more security. All this is configured via the five inch HD screen with an HTC Sense interface. For smart home control, the HTC 5G Hub supports voice control via Google Assistant.
Low-latency networking with high data throughput is made possible by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset integrated in the HTC 5G hub, in conjunction with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem. Antenna modules with an integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end (RFFE) and antenna elements connect you to the 5G network.
The additional 60GHz Wi-Fi chip is based on the 802.11ad specification with multi-gigabit speed and low latency. It already works with currently available hardware. In addition, there are the Qualcomm 2x2 Wi-Fi 6-ready chips for upcoming pre-5G hardware.
When exactly and at what price HTC will sell the 5G hub has not yet been determined. There are talks of the second quarter of 2019. However, this doesn't seem very realistic because providers would have to agree on the 5G frequencies at the speed of light and push ahead with the 5G expansion.