What Is 5G, and How
Will It Affect Your Life?

Find out how 5G and other 2019 tech trends will change how you game, create and more.

A gamer lines up his shot at a giant monster displayed via Augmented Reality on his Samsung Galaxy device.

You may have heard of 5G, but do you know what 5G actually is? How is it going to impact your life, and what is it going to change? New technology comes with new questions, so we're breaking down how 5G is going to impact the technology trends of 2019 and what that will mean for you.

A commuter checks her Samsung Galaxy phone while on the train.

What is 5G, anyway?

There aren’t five of anything in 5G—it simply means "fifth generation," as in the fifth generation of cellular technology. 3G was the third generation, 4G was the fourth, and 2019 brings the fifth.

It's easy to underestimate just how much faster 5G will be. The most noticeable difference will be in its significantly decreased latency, or how quickly signals are sent to and from devices. For context, 3G's latency response rate was 100 milliseconds, 4G's was 50 ms, and 5G's is going to be 1 ms.

Gaming especially is ready for this huge leap forward. 5G's response time will be so fast; lag time will be reduced to a point where gaming feels instantaneous. Say goodbye to loading screens—with response times like this, mobile gaming is going to just be "gaming". If you think {1} is cool, then you're in for a whole new world of remote gaming.

If you think playing Fortnite
on the bus is cool,
then you're in for a whole new
world with 5G.

Gamers team up to take on a giant troll monster in a park thanks to Augmented Reality provided by 5G.

Mobile gaming levels up with AR

Remember Pokémon GO, the game that took the summer of 2016 by storm? As players moved through the real world, Pokémon would pop up in a map on their phone screens for them to catch. While simplistic, it made us feel like there was an entire world all around us that we could access through our phones.

That was our first taste of Augmented Reality (AR), virtual reality’s less cumbersome cousin, and it’s only going to get better in 2019 as 5G begins to roll out. You won't just be hunting down monsters on your way to the grocery store—you and 50 local players will descend on a park to rid it of a 50-foot frost troll that you can only see through your phones.

A fashion designer creates his latest work on a stand up display powered by 5G.

Creativity gets unleashed

5G isn't just going to change how we game—it's going to lead a creative revolution in the worlds of fashion, art, design and more. Much of the creative process already happens within a virtual space like a tablet or laptop, but dynamic displays powered by 5G are going to blur the line between those virtual spaces and the real world.

Until now, digital creation tools have done their best to approximate your ideas on a screen. But with innovations in standing displays, AR mirrors, foldable screens and more, those virtual creative spaces will be able to mimic the mental space where ideas are born. On top of that, 5G's negligible latency will enable those screens to respond in real time, so you can manipulate your creations and ideas with your own hands right on the screen itself.

A man does pull ups while a Samsung wearable tracks his progress.

Better tech, better health

While 2019 might be 5G's year, wearables are also undergoing a major growth spurt at the same time. And when these two technology trends get together, we're going to see some amazing things happen in our health and fitness routines.

With advances in smart fabrics and sensors, wearables are going beyond smartwatches in 2019. We’re going to see wearable technology in shoes, shirts, and more—basically anything that can be worn is going to get some tech sewn into it. And along with lower latency rates, 5G's massive connectivity upgrade is also going to significantly increase how many devices can collaborate together at once. So you won't just know how many steps you took today, you'll know what the weather was during each step, how local humidity affected your stride distance, and how much weight you put on each foot as you stepped.

What's more, you'll be able to share all that information with your doctor the minute it's available, meaning they'll already have a pretty clear picture of your health since your last check up before you even walk in the door. So not only will your doctor be able to be a better doctor, you'll save time in the waiting room, too.

A group of joggers run along their route while AI mixes their playlists for them based on information obtained from their wearables.

Music that moves with you

Entertainment especially has only just begun to scratch the surface of what's capable with 5G. Music is already easily transferred from one speaker to another within a household—but you have to tell it to do that yourself. What if it just did it for you? With 5G empowering devices and sensors in your home, your music will be able to follow you as you move from room to room.

But surely you'd still have to tell your speakers what to play, right? Not with wearable tech tracking your things like your heartrate, hormones, blood pressure and more all day. If your health data indicates you're coming home tense from a long day at work, a comprehensive AI assistant like Bixby will know you're wound up and need to listen to something soothing. Or maybe you just got some great news and need an arena rock setlist to celebrate.

5G will take this physical and emotional adaptability outside of the home, too. As you start running, Bixby will know to play music that gets you fired up and ready to move, and as your run comes to an end, it'll even know to play something to cool you down.

Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G

Two Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phones, one in Cosmic Black, one in Cosmic Grey, seen from the rear at three-quarter angles with text saying 5G on each side of the phones Two Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phones, one in Cosmic Black, one in Cosmic Grey, seen from the rear at three-quarter angles with text saying 5G on each side of the phones