No one can deny the attraction of LTE-Advanced, the next super-fast iteration of LTE technology that guarantees download speeds of 100 Mbps or greater. But in an article posted yesterday, MIT Technology Review pointed out an interesting compromise that users looking forward to the technology will have to make: their smartphones will end up bigger and bulkier than the svelte profiles we are used to today.
To make good on its promise for turbocharged speeds, LTE-Advanced depends on multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology, using as many as eight antennas to transmit and receive data. It’ll also harness a trick called “carrier aggregation,” bringing together multiple streams of data from as many as five different frequencies—instead of the one stream of data that current phones use.
The consequence? LTE-Advanced smartphones will require more powerful processors, more antennas inside, and more energy storage to execute onboard computations. Altogether, this likely equates to the first LTE-Advanced devices having rather hefty proportions. It’s good news for users who already prefer phablets, but the rest will have to decide whether they’re willing to sacrifice wielding a smaller device to be the first generation to take advantage of LTE-Advanced.