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Intel’s solution for 5G laptops? Team up with MediaTek.

Intel has teamed up with MediaTek to use a 5G modem based on the Helio M70.

Intel made headlines earlier this year when it decided to sell its mobile 5G business to Apple, but said it was investigating the feasibility of its 4G and 5G business for PCs. Now, the company has announced it’s working with MediaTek to bring 5G to Intel-powered PCs.

The two chip designers confirmed that the 5G modem for Intel-powered PCs will be based “in part” on MediaTek’s Helio M70 modem (seen above), announced late last year and found in its first 5G SoC for mobile phones.

Interestingly enough, MediaTek’s Helio M70 modem only supports the sub-6GHz flavor of 5G right now. It’s unclear whether this Intel/MediaTek solution will gain mmWave 5G support down the line.

Speaking of availability, the first Intel-powered devices with MediaTek’s 5G modem are expected to launch in 2021. Dell and HP are set to produce these laptops.

News of the move comes as Qualcomm presses on with its Always Connected PC initiative, bringing Snapdragon silicon and cellular connectivity to Windows laptops and hybrid PCs. And, with Qualcomm set to bring 5G to Windows laptops, it seems like Intel needed to bring some 5G heat of its own. Qualcomm teamed up with Lenovo for a 5G laptop earlier this year, but the duo hinted at a 2020 launch date — still a year ahead of Intel and MediaTek.

Intel’s decision to sell its mobile 5G business (and over 2,000 employees) to Apple suggests that the company is abandoning its 5G work on PCs too. This means Intel might be with MediaTek for the long run, provided this first 5G modem turns out to be successful.

Are you looking for cellular connectivity in your next laptop? Give us your thoughts below.


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