The first 5G phones have launched over the past year, and you might even have one now that Qualcomm has pushed OEMs to include the next-generation tech on all flagship devices. However, you probably don’t have a quantum 5G phone. Yes, that’s a thing thanks to a partnership between South Korea’s SK Telecom and Samsung. It’s also, surprisingly, not as useless as it sounds.
The new Galaxy A Quantum is the first and only smartphone with a Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) inside. The device itself is based on the mid-range Galaxy A71 5G, which Samsung has already launched in numerous markets sans quantum technology.
The Galaxy A Quantum has a 6.7-inch OLED display with a hole-punch camera (32MP) and an in-display optical fingerprint sensor. The camera array features four sensors: a 64MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, and 5MP depth sensor. Unlike most 5G phones, the A71 5G (and thus the Galaxy A Quantum) runs on a Samsung Exynos 980 chip with a Samsung 5G modem. It also sports 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
According to Samsung, the Galaxy A Quantum is much more secure than other smartphones thanks to its QRNG hardware. This is completely separate from the SoC and other core hardware. It’s a tiny embedded chipset called the SKT IDQ S2Q000 that’s just 2.5mm square consisting of an LED and a CMOS sensor. The LED shines into the sensor to produce image noise, and the sensor interprets that as quantum randomness. These random noise patterns become the basis for truly random number strings. When paired with a compatible online service, SK Telecom says the connection is completely unhackable — although, that sounds like a challenge some hackers would relish. It only works with SK Telecom services, though.
The Galaxy A Quantum will go on sale May 22nd in South Korea for KRW 649,000. That’s about $530, which is a bit more than the A71 5G on which it is based. Samsung hasn’t talked about future plans for this technology, but it seems like a good addition to Samsung’s existing Knox security framework. The company could use it to secure connections to its various online services, which are bundled with every phone it sells. Even if it’s not actually very useful, Samsung might still continue using this chip because labeling its products “quantum” sounds cool.
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