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Intel returns to 5G with MediaTek

by on28 November 2019

Can't do it without you

After walking away from 5G in April, Chipzilla has announced that it wants back in.

This time it is using system-on-chip vendor MediaTek building the hardware with Intel writing the 5G specifications and MediaTek developing the modem to match.

After that is done, Intel will optimise and validate the modem and use its charismatic powers of persuasion to convince OEMs to use the new hardware and help them make sure it works well in final products.

This means Intel will be writing operating system level drivers for the modems.

The partnership looks like a sensible one for both parties: Intel has been struggling to get its own 10nm hardware so getting this hardware design task off its plate may relieve some pressure, while still keeping the company in an emerging market.

MediaTek gets its paws on Intel's software development expertise and deep integration with OEM vendors in the PC space.

It looks like the chip is based on MediaTek's Helio M70 5G modem for use in PC hardware. The M70 modem is already being built into MediaTek's Dimensity family of ARM System-on-Chip (SoC) designs which were announced this week the new partnership gives MediaTek a whole new platform to market to and gives Intel a foot back into the door in 5G.

It may represent a way for Intel to push back against ARM-based Windows hardware like Samsung's Galaxy Book S, built on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx platform. We can expect to see the resulting hardware shipping sometime in 2021.

Last modified on 28 November 2019
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