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Intel is partnering MediaTek to make 5G modems for PCs

By Koh Wanzi - on 26 Nov 2019, 7:16pm

Intel is partnering MediaTek to make 5G modems for PCs

Image Source: Intel

Intel may have given up on 5G in smartphones, but it's not backing out of the 5G game entirely. It still wants to bring that technology to PCs, and it's teaming up with MediaTek to make that happen. The two companies announced their partnership Monday, with the goal of developing, certifying, and supporting 5G modem solutions for next generation PC platforms. 

Intel will be responsible for defining what a 5G PC should look like, in addition to providing optimisation, validating designs, and all the necessary legwork to integrate these modems into future PCs. On MediaTek's end, it'll be the one to develop the cellular chip itself.

Systems with the new 5G modems are expected to start shipping in early 2021. Dell and HP are already confirmed to be working on laptops with the 5G modems, with the 5G chip said to be based on MediaTek's Helio M70 5G modem.

Both Intel and MediaTek have a lot to gain by making their stand in the 5G market. PCs are a crucial market for Intel, and while it already makes the vast majority of chips that go into PCs, Qualcomm is attempting to inch into the market with chips designed for battery life and always-on connectivity. Meanwhile, MediaTek could unlock a new avenue of growth if it gains access to the US market and the PC industry.

This ties in with Intel's efforts to make PCs more versatile and better suited for use on the go. Its Project Athena initiative calls for laptops with better battery life and the ability to wake from sleep nearly instantly. They must also support the new Wi-Fi 6 standard.

That's not all however, and Fibocom will also work with both Intel and MediaTek to create M.2 5G modules for Intel's client platforms.

Source: Intel