Update: May 17, 2019 at 11:28 a.m. ET: Sprint has finally put the HTC 5G Hub up for pre-order on its website. The hardware costs $12.50 per month, while the 5G service for the hub costs $60 per month. There’s also a 100GB data cap associated with that plan.
However, the 5G Hub is only on sale in regions that Sprint’s 5G network is available. So, if you don’t live in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, or Kansas City, you likely won’t be able to access the link below. If you do live in one of those cities, pre-order it by clicking the button!
5G phones are everywhere at MWC 2019 but HTC isn’t ready to release its own 5G-compatible phone just yet. Instead, the struggling OEM is pinning its current 5G ambitions on the “world’s first 5G mobile smart hub” — the HTC 5G Hub.
A weird cross between a chunkier Google Home Hub and a boring old Wi-Fi hotspot, HTC says the “first-of-its-kind” 5G Hub will bring 4K video streaming, low-latency gaming, and 5G mobile hotspot functionality to the home, at work, and on-the-go.
Users can connect up to 20 devices to the Hub, which is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC accompanied by an X50 5G modem.
There’s also a massive 7,660mAh battery jammed in there as well as a built-in Gigabit ethernet port and various other sensors and receivers that support the connectivity suite.
HTC says all this makes the 5G Hub a perfect replacement for a regular Wi-Fi router thanks to the blistering speed of fifth-generation technology. It also says the Hub will enable breakthrough virtual reality experiences by streaming VR content from the cloud to its Vive headsets, anywhere, anytime, with zero cables.
The Hub can also stream 4K content to a TV, but if you don’t have a second screen around the Hub has its own 5-inch display for viewing media and playing games at 60fps in ultra high definition. The Hub runs on Android 9.0 Pie, so it’s almost like a smart display, tablet, and hotspot all rolled into one.
On the enterprise side, there’s also a built-in corporate VPN and encryption, as well as support for network upscaling via the aforementioned Gigabit port.
The 5G Hub is scheduled for launch in early Q2 2019 through U.S. carrier Sprint, as well as global network partners including EE and Three (U.K.), Telstra (Australia), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), and Sunrise (Switzerland).
The big question is how much this thing will cost, which HTC has yet to confirm. With specs like this, however, it’s definitely going to be more expensive than a standard Wi-Fi hotspot or smart display.
With HTC barely making a dent in the smartphone market in recent years, the dawn of 5G is a big opportunity for the languishing Taiwanese firm. Will the 5G Hub be enough to bring the firm back from the brink? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!