'5G Pioneer' group looks to drive 5G NR devices to market

According to market research conducted by Qualcomm, 60% of consumers in China "are likely to purchase 5G smartphones when available".

Qualcomm wants to use the new initiative to provide Chinese device manufacturers with its platform to help them develop premium tier and global 5G commercial devices.

China's smartphone market suffered its first ever annual decline in shipments during 2017, marking an end to the unparalleled growth story of the world's largest smartphone market, research from Canalys indicates.

As well as working together to build 5G mobes, Qualcomm said the companies will work together to explore other technologies enabled by 5G, including artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

But Lenovo's chief executive Yuanqing Yang said the firm has been developing 5G tech for some time: "Lenovo started 5G technology research as well as productisation since the global communications industry began the 5G standard-setting process, and we have been working closely with Qualcomm Technologies in both aspects".

Qualcomm also announced on Thursday announced a memorandum of understanding with Xiaomi, Lenovo, Oppo, and Vivo to purchase a total of $2bn of Qualcomm RF chips over three years.

The companies also agreed to work together in developing 5G-compliant commercial devices by 2019.

True, Qualcomm is now in the driving seat in terms of device silicon and baseband technology, and doubtless a series of bilateral agreements would achieve similar results for the USA company.

"At Xiaomi, we pride ourselves on bringing the most innovative products we can to our growing customer base", said KS Yan, MiPhone vice president, vice chairman of MiPhone quality committee, Xiaomi".

"We are pleased to participate in the introduction of the 5G Pioneer Initiative to deepen our ongoing cooperation with Qualcomm Technologies, and help Chinese handset manufacturers to build more high-end smartphones and deliver 5G mobile devices to the global market as early as possible in the future". "We are excited and are honored to be a part of the 5G Pioneer Initiative".

Chinese mobile users are showing unprecedented interest in 5G, Qualcomm said.

The game is on.

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