HTC is just one of many companies counting on 5G technology to breathe new life into its dying business, but while everyone from Oppo to Xiaomi, Huawei, and LG has taken the wraps off actual phones equipped with (mostly theoretical) support for the next standard in cellular connectivity, we're not getting a U13+ today... or possibly, ever. Instead, HTC is delivering at MWC 2019 on a promise made in collaboration with Sprint several months ago.
That's right, the financially struggling company believes it can get the mobile world excited for a "first-of-its-kind" HTC 5G Hub. This is not just a humdrum mobile hotspot, mind you, but rather an interesting combination of a hotspot and smart display. Billed as "the world's first 5G mobile smart hub", the relatively hefty 340-gram device sports a 5-inch touchscreen with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution in addition to a state-of-the-art Snapdragon 855 SoC and Snapdragon X50 modem setup required to tap into those insane 5G download speeds... of the future.
Technically, that makes this a crazy powerful tablet, but HTC primarily wants you to use its 5G Hub in conjunction with a second, larger screen. Ideally, a TV capable of playing 4K content, which the hub should effortlessly stream either natively with the help of pre-loaded Android 9.0 Pie software or alongside a Windows PC.
Of course, the HTC 5G Hub can come in handy on the go and in the office in addition to satisfying your home entertainment needs. You can take your 5G support with you wherever... it's covered, as well as "mobilize your office network" by connecting up to 20 devices at once with built-in encryption tools or a corporate VPN. Further down the line, you'll even be able to use this thing to stream virtual reality content from the cloud to a Vive headset without needing wires or a PC, although there's no word on exactly when that might happen.
Then again, there's still a lot of general uncertainty surrounding 5G network rollouts and real-world capabilities. That's probably the main reason why HTC isn't ready to share a price tag yet, also being vague about the "all-day" endurance of the pretty massive 7,660 mAh battery powering its 5G Hub.
What we do know is carriers "across the globe" will start selling this sometime during the second quarter, including Sprint, Australia's Telstra, EE and Three UK, Germany's Deutsche Telekom, and Switzerland's Sunrise.