With how much hype there is about 5G lately, you would think that it’s some revolutionary new dark magic that will fundamentally change every aspect of how we live—like the invention of the internet, electric cars, or the bluetooth hairbrush (because L’Oréal needs a piece of the mass data industry, too).
5G just means really fast data speeds, right? Do you really need get all excited and giddy about it like it’s the next Marvel movie? The answer is yes, yes you do.
Here’s why. 5G doesn’t just mean faster data. It means much, much, much faster data. Data so fast that some tech executives think it will spell the end of personal hardware because all the necessary computing power can exist in the cloud and be accessed over a wireless 5G connection.
Imagine that for a second, a world where your phone doesn’t require storage or the latest and greatest processors because it’s all in the cloud—accessible via neckbreakingly fast 5G data.
Now, imagine that for your laptop.
That’s right. 5G laptops are coming almost as quickly as 5G phones, and it promises cloud computing like we’ve never experienced before.
Less is More
So, how exactly will 5G change the way laptops are made? First, think about the things you look for when shopping for a laptop. You might consider processing speed, storage space, size, battery life, and some other factors. Normally, you have to make trade offs between them all. A smaller laptop might mean fewer processors and less storage but longer battery life. A large laptop might have a great screen and a lot of horsepower but can be big, bulky and requires a lot of power.
With 5G laptops, however, this can all change. If all the promises of 5G prove true, all your processing power and storage can be located on some remote server at the bottom of the ocean. This leaves a lot of extra space and design flexibility for your laptop.
With all of its “brains” located elsewhere, the only thing your laptop really needs to do have is a data connection, screen, power, and input-output devices (keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc).
The more computing functions that are accomplished remotely via a cloud connection, the less hardware your laptop needs, freeing up physical space for things like a mega-battery that lasts for days or a brilliant, super AMOLED screen—all while being sleeker, faster, and more compact than today’s hardware.
One big advantage of smartphones over laptops right now is that they are nearly always connected. You can use your phone’s data connection anytime to check your email, browse the web, stream, and more. When 5G comes, phones might no longer have this advantage.
With 5G, Intel and Microsoft are looking at developing laptops that are always connected to the network. This means no longer hunting for a WiFi connection or trusting your local coffeeshop’s wireless network in order to get something done on your laptop.
Pair this “always connected” idea with the fact that laptops will be smaller and sleeker, possibly even having a form factor similar to tablets, but with all the computing power and capabilities of a full, traditional, workhorse computer. You may find yourself using your highly mobile 5G laptop more than a tablet or phone in the future.
Some think that this “always connected“ idea could even mean a convergence between phones, tablets, and laptops soon.
5G Revolution = Cloud Laptop Revolution?
Despite current mobile carrier issues and the United State’s fear of Chinese based hardware, 5G is approaching like a storm and, with it, the cloud. Sure, there are some obstacles to be faced and the consumer reaction to giving up processing power and storage to a remote location may be mixed at first, but if companies can get away with producing bluetooth hairbrushes, then surely anything is possible.