Intel is testing the XMM 7560, its latest LTE modem and its first to support CDMA networking technology. The company is confident that the product, which can achieve 1Gbps downlink, is moving up to par in the race to 5G.
“5G is one of the biggest bets for Intel and we look [at] it as a system and with a systematic approach,” Asha Keddy, vice president of technology, told Nikkei Asian Review in an interview. “It’s really the conversion of computing and communication. Phone is only a step [for diversification] … and we look way beyond only phones.”
This progress comes after years of shyness and slow development of 3G- and LTE-enabled systems-on-chips on mobile products.
The Review notes a recent Bernstein Research report predicting that Intel will continue to share with Qualcomm modem orders for Apple and its future iPhones. However, Intel also says that it is also not subject to working with chip fabricator TSMC, meaning it will produce its own modems. Quality assurance going forward will determine if Intel will be able to take on all of Apple’s orders in the future, as was previously predicted.
Intel will join Qualcomm and MediaTek in producing 5G modems for commercialization by 2019. The XMM 8060 modem may appear in cellular-connected laptops and convertible computers first before coming to iPhones. It will also look to expand Chinese market share by partnering with government-backed UNISOC, which includes manufacturers Spreadtrum & RDA.
In the meantime, Apple is still looking for as much cover as possible as it grinds its legal axe with Qualcomm over antitrust concerns, especially over its profit protection of CDMA patents.