Intel on Thursday announced partnerships with a bunch of PC makers out there, Microsoft included, to launch 5G laptops as soon as next year’s holiday season.
The news came on the same day when Qualcomm revealed that it’ll use Samsung’s 7nm chip-making technology for its upcoming 5G modems built into the Snapdragon platform.
5G will be the talk of the town at MWC but this time we’re actually getting closer to actual deployment of the next-gen mobile communication standard. 2018 is the year when 5G trials are about to start, which is quite exciting.
It’s also the reason why Intel and Qualcomm are coming out with all these 5G announcements. Both companies are looking to convince OEMs to select their 5G modem solutions for future mobile devices and laptops. The iPhone, of course, is the kind of business both companies want, and Apple’s decision could inspire others to follow. But nobody is even mentioning the iPhone at this point.
Per VentureBeat, Intel partnered with Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft to use the new XXM 8000 series 5G modem in future 5G laptops. These devices should be released in late 2019.
There are no firm specs for these devices. Instead, the companies have agreed on “guiding principles” for these products. Built-in 5G support in laptops already sounds exciting, and it’s understandable why Intel wants to tell the world its 5G chips are good for laptops too. Let’s not forget that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile platforms are being used inside always-on laptops already, and 5G versions will likely follow.
Qualcomm, meanwhile, came out with its own 5G announcement early on Thursday. The company said that its future Snapdragon 5G mobile chipsets will use Samsung 7nm LPP EUV process technology. Qualcomm says that Snapdragon 5G chips offer a smaller footprint, higher performance, and lower power consumptions. The Snapdragon 855 is the likeliest candidate to be the first 5G chipset from Qualcomm next year, the kind of chip that would power the Galaxy S9 successor, other Android flagships, as well as laptops. However, Qualcomm did not offer any availability dates for its Snapdragon 5G chips.
So what about the iPhone 5G?
Nobody is talking about the elephant in the room for the time being. But a report in mid-November did say that Apple was already working with Intel on 5G chips. The first iPhone 5G might be launched in 2019 or 2020, that report said. Apple’s collaboration with Qualcomm on 5G tech “has been limited,” the same report added. After all, Apple and Qualcomm are in a fierce fight that will have complex ramifications over the mobile industry once it’s done.
Winning the iPhone 5G modem orders will be a very lucrative deal for either Intel or Qualcomm. The 5G modem that’ll be good enough for Apple might be the kind of component other OEMs will want. And by the way, Samsung is working on its own 5G modem, so expect to see plenty of 5G modem news in the coming months.