Samsung brought a 5G prototype phone to CES 2019

Samsung wants to make sure everyone knows it'll be among the first to 5G.

Samsung brought a 5G prototype phone to CES 2019
Samsung brought a 5G prototype phone to CES 2019

We strolled by Samsung’s enormous booth, hoping to get our hands on the 5G prototype phone that Samsung brought to  CES 2019 in Las Vegas.

And there we found it, trapped behind glass in its dock, so near yet so far away.

At first glance, the phone doesn’t look like anything special. Again, it’s a prototype, not a final design, so we can’t even say it’s Samsung’s first phone. The most we can assume is that this the device Samsung’s using as the basis for its first 5G phones.

The presence of the phone here is important, even from afar, despite the fact that not much has changed since we first saw the prototype in the very same dock at Qualcomm’s annual tech summit in Maui, Hawaii last month. With this showpiece, Samsung is staking its claim as a 5G mover and shaker.

The world’s largest smartphone maker is signalling that it’s bullish on 5G, after announcing that it’ll have its first 5G phone for Verizon in the first half of 2019, and two 5G phones with AT&T. (But this will be Verizon’s first 5G phone.)

Samsung is also rumored to have a 5G-capable version of its upcoming Galaxy S10 phone. (The Galaxy S10 launch event officially takes place Feb. 20.)

Although these 5G networks aren’t ready yet, phonemakers are eager to get ahead of the curve. Having compatible handsets ready to go when the networks turn on their 5G services will give the first brands an advantage with early adopters, and earn brownie points for appearing to be first to the next-generation wireless technology.

The transition from 3G to 4G phones was slow, and carriers and device-makers alike would like to hasten the transition. More info and gallery

By JESSICA DOLCOURT cnet.com