Here’s an amusing little disconnect to wrap your musty ol’ mammal-brain around: Right now, when you’re looking at new phones, 5G is everywhere. You can hardly avoid it!

And yet, if you find yourself holding one of those fancy new 5G-capable contraptions, you’ll quickly be confronted with a competing reality: Out in the real world, when it comes to actual usage and availability, 5G is practically nowhere.

Gee whiz.

As we’ve been thinking through Google’s 2020 Pixel lineup (and as our Apple-adoring amigos begin pondering a similar “To 5G or not to 5G?” decision on the iDevice front), I’ve heard lots of questions about the value of buying a smartphone with 5G today and whether it might be a smart long-term strategy — even if the value of 5G at this particular moment is questionable (at best).

The unsensational, hype-free truth is that no one really knows for sure what the next few years will hold and how 5G will (or won’t) develop — and anyone who says they do is blowin’ a whole lot of hooey into your curiously hot head holes. What we can say, though, is that assuming right now that 5G is gonna be a meaningful advantage within the likely lifespan of your next mobile device is making an awfully big leap — one that our currently available data simply doesn’t support. And assuming that the specific type of 5G in your next phone is gonna be the one that matters the most two, three, or five years from now is every bit as uncertain.

Let’s look at it from a logical perspective, shall we? No matter what kind of phone you’re thinking about getting next, there are a few key points worth keeping in mind to balance out all the heavy-duty 5G-friendly marketing that’s gonna be shoved in your face over these next few years.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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