Back in July, Intel sold off most of its cellular modem business to Apple, leaving the company with only the ability to produce 4G LTE modems for PCs. Prior to that even, Intel had already abandoned 5G development. As it turns out, the firm has a plan to still produce 5G computers.
MediaTek and Intel today announced a plan to produce PCs that have MediaTek modems, starting with HP and Dell. The new PCs will include the Helio M70 5G modem, and they're not expected to arrive until early 2021.
"5G is poised to unleash a new level of computing and connectivity that will transform the way we interact with the world," said Gregory Bryant, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group. "Intel's partnership with MediaTek brings together industry leaders with deep engineering, system integration and connectivity expertise to deliver 5G experiences on the next generation of the world’s best PCs."
The choice of partners is interesting with HP and Dell, as Lenovo already has a 5G PC planned for 2020 that uses Windows on ARM and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G chipset. Dell, on the other hand, has a strong partnership with Intel and hasn't gone anywhere near Windows on ARM.
"Our 5G modem for PCs, developed in partnership with Intel, is integral to making 5G accessible and available across home and mobile platforms," said MediaTek President Joe Chen. "5G will usher in the next era of PC experiences, and working with Intel, an industry leader in computing, highlights MediaTek’s expertise in designing 5G technology for global markets. With this partnership, consumers will be able to browse, stream and game faster on their PCs, but we also expect them to innovate with 5G in ways we have not yet imagined."
As is always the case with Intel PCs that have cellular connectivity, 5G will come at a premium, since it has an added-on part. This is opposed to ARM-based PCs, that have the cellular modem built into the chipset, so it comes standard.