Do you want to know what 5G is going to look like? In early Dec. Qualcomm went all-in on how next-generation wireless technology will take shape when it debuts in 2019. The maker of mobile chips, best known for the powerful processors that serve as the brains of high-profile phones, such as the Google Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9, held its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui the first week in Dec.

Qualcomm used it as a showcase for 5G technology, showing off a prototype phone that can tap into next-generation networks. Partners AT&T and Verizon pitched in too, setting up "live networks" at the conference hotel to show off their capabilities. Samsung showed off a 5G reference device at the event.

"A lot of the work went into getting the 5G logo to show on this phone," Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon said as he held up the company's prototype during the keynote.

Samsung and Verizon already said they'll launch a 5G smartphone in the first half of next year. AT&T and Sprint too. Already this year, Verizon has launched a variant of 5G as a home internet service, and in early 2019 it plans to begin a standards-based mobile service.

All of this means that 5G is going from years of hype -- ever since Verizon talked about moving into the area three years ago -- to becoming reality. Beyond a big speed boost, 5G has been referred to as foundational tech that will supercharge areas like self-driving cars, virtual and augmented reality and tele******** services, such as remote surgery.

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