In the electronics’ industry, the year starts with CES. The event premiers its share of questionable, even amusing, products: Just how many of us will have a Charmin Rollbot in our home next year? But it also features technologies that will have a profound effect on our mobile future. We are especially interested in technologies to which our own advancements in silicon-based battery technology will contribute. Here is the first of three:

5G may seem like old news, but this is the year it will begin to take root. According to IHS Markt, shipments of 5G handsets will increase from about 30 million in 2019 to over 110 million in 2020. And shipments will continue to grow by over 100 million per year, exceeding 500 million in 2023

5G adoption is projected to be much faster than it was for 4G. For comparison, 4G handset shipments were about 90 million in year three of introduction, while 5G is projected to be over 200 million. This is because it promises an improved user experience due to much faster data transmission and lower latency. It will also increase network capacity and relieve the pressure on loaded 4G networks.

However, expect some bumps along the way. As with the shift from 3G to 4G, there will initially be a price to pay in battery life. In part, this will be a result of frequent 5G-to-4G network switching (as was the case with 4G-to-3G switching a decade ago). Another challenge is that initially the Sub 6-GHz RF circuitry required for 5G is estimated to require 30% to 50% additional RF and antenna volume than 4G alone.

Expect 5G smartphones to be larger than 4G models, in part to accommodate larger batteries, yet still suffer from shorter battery life. For example, Jessica Dolcourt, of c|net, reported that, “…the [Samsung] S10 5G has a slightly larger screen and battery than the Galaxy S10 Plus (6.7-inch and 4,500 mAh versus 6.1-inch and 4,100 mAh),” but in a test, “The S10 5G [battery life] was on a trajectory to last far less.”

By contrast, we’ve benchmarked our Enovix 3D Silicon™ Lithium-ion Battery against the same size conventional lithium-ion battery in a new 5G smartphone. Our battery increases energy capacity by 51% (6,770 mAh versus 4,200 mAh). Therefore, replacing a conventional lithium-ion battery with the same size 3D Silicon Lithium-ion Battery can handle the increased energy demands of 5G and increase battery life. That’s clearly a win-win.