Few companies have designed their own 5G wireless chips, and even fewer are producing both chips and the handsets that will use them. That’s why a new DigiTimes report on China’s Huawei is raising red flags this morning: Huawei’s first 5G phone will draw much more power than 4G phones and will apparently require a premium copper cooling module to dissipate heat.
According to the report, Huawei’s rotating CEO, Eric Xu, confirmed that the company’s 5G chips will consume 2.5 times the power of current 4G chips. Though Xu suggests this is a tradeoff for better performance than existing chips offer, it means that Huawei’s initial 5G phones will require larger batteries and atypical cooling solutions. Xu said that further research and development will be needed to improve the 5G chip’s heat dissipation and power-saving technologies.
To solve the heat dissipation issue for its first 5G phone, Huawei will reportedly use premium cooling modules from Auras Technology. The modules are said to be 0.4mm-thick sheets of copper, a fairly expensive component previously used in high-end slim laptops. Though Auras has used the modules in certain smartphones for two years, much less expensive graphite is more commonly used for smartphone cooling.
Auras will reportedly start volume production of the copper cooling modules in September, well ahead of the release of Huawei’s phone, which is now apparently expected to ship in June 2019. That’s months after competing 5G phones are expected to ship with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modems, but likely before 5G devices using Intel XMM 8000 5G modems.
The sizes and shapes of early 5G mobile devices remain uncertain, as no company has shown a finalized 5G smartphone housing. While Qualcomm has recently announced impressively small 5G components, Intel has shown only large 5G device prototypes. Samsung is working on an Exynos 5G chipset for multiple 5G devices but has yet to reveal what its 5G smartphones will look like.