17 June 2020
SK Telecom, a South Korean wireless telecommunications operator in cooperation with Samsung Electronics has launched the world’s first 5G smartphone with quantum random number chipset. The name of the smartphone is Galaxy A Quantum and it holds support for 5G connectivity as well, thanks to Samsung’s in-house Exynos 980 5G chipset.
The Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) chipset is the key factor here in securing user’s data and privacy. While the Galaxy A Quantum can offer security for many services available on your phone, SK Telecom mainly highlights three services where the phone together with the chipset could prove to be really helpful.
According to the announcement, the quantum security has been applied for login purpose, SK Pay biometric authentication, and blockchain mobile electronic authentication service. The chipset will generate encryption keys for all of the aforementioned services that hold some sensitive information.
They all will go through an encryption-decryption process whenever the data is stored or exchanged. For instance, if you log in to your carrier account on Galaxy A Quantum, the process will take you through a double security procedure, where you would need to first add your ID credentials and the second step will undergo Quantum-based OTP authentication. This will further protect the user’s account.
Also, the added authentication provided via the QRNG chip will be helpful when paying at offline merchants, like convenience stores and restaurants with the SK Pay app. SK Telecom also announced that while the Galaxy A Quantum is apt for making offline transactions, it will develop something this secure for online merchant apps as well in the future.
As mentioned before, quantum security has been applied to the blockchain mobile electronic authentication service as well. Whenever the phone detects that a user is storing various personal documents like certificates and insurance claim documents, it will generate a “Quantum Wallet” automatically so as to lock them safely.
According to SK Telecom,
When a user of 'Galaxy A Quantum' sets up biometric authentication with 'SKT 5GX Quantum' in the SK Pay app, you can see the message 'SK Pay is protected with SKT 5GX Quantum' at the top of the smartphone screen when using the app.
The Galaxy A Quantum is currently capable of handling these three services only but SK Telecom promises to expand the usage for more ecosystems so that the quantum security chip can be applied to more services in the future. Learning about the chipset and its capabilities, it appears this big change would require hardware intervention and a software upgrade may not be sufficient, though expect a few changes here and there via a software update in the future.
It appears if SK Telecom wants to span more areas then it will need to develop more phones with added security and advanced features. And, this could be the reason why SK Telecom is planning to create new business opportunities in various areas such as 5G network, IoT, autonomous driving, and cloud as well. It also plans to share open APIs and support technology development with developers.
The Quantum RNG was developed by SK Telecom and is based on a technology concept and patent from its subsidiary ID Quantique (IDQ). The chip has mainly been designed for IoT and infrastructure markets where there is low power consumption. And, now SK Telecom touts the chip’s usage has come to its 5G smartphone for the first time in the world.
Samsung already offers a data security chip and it was debuted on its newly-launched Galaxy S20 series. The addition of a hardware safety inside the phone is now necessary to safeguard them from any potential risks. Software-based security solutions are limited in their ability to build a wall against any risks. That’s where hardware-based security systems come into play. SK Telecom’s QRNG chip is one such form of it.
Talking about the specifications of the Galaxy A Quantum, the phone features a 6.7-inch FHD Plus display. It is powered by Exynos 980 5G processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, and has 4,500mAh battery. Other notable specs include quad-rear cameras, where 64MP is the primary one, followed by a 12MP wide-angle sensor, and the remaining two are 5MP for macro shots and 5MP depth sensor. It has a 32MP front shooter.
The Galaxy A Quantum will be available for pre-orders from May 15 to May 21 and the official sales will start on May 22. The price of the Galaxy A Quantum is 649,000 won (approx. $529). There is no word on global availability yet.