Amid rumors of an Apple tie-up, Intel unveils powerful new mobile modems

Intel fights for a spot in your next phone

Intel introduces family of 5G NR multimode commercial modems

To date, Qualcomm's LTE modem chipsets still have a distinct advantage over the competition.

The flagship product in the new portfolio is the XMM 8060, Intel's first commercial 5G modem. The company is planning early prototypes of a new modem chip that it announced during the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show.

Sandra Rivera, GM of Intel's Network Platforms Group, added: "Today's wireless networks are the equivalent of data driving down a single-lane highway; tomorrow's will need to serve as a multilane superhighway as data moves at warp speed with 5G networks". Highlights include the introduction of the Intel® XMM™ 8000 series, Intel's first family of 5G new radio (5G NR) multi-mode commercial modems, and Intel's latest LTE modem, the Intel® XMM™ 7660. It also has one of the best support for CDMA networks, which Verizon and Sprint use, which isn't surprising since it was instrumental in developing the technology.

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"Intel is committed to delivering leading 5G multi-mode modem technology and making sure the transition to 5G is smooth", said Dr. Cormac Conroy, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the communication and devices group.

According to Fast Company, Apple is leaning heavily towards chip maker Intel's 5G modems for the upcoming iPhones.

Don't expect 5G to appear on the 2018 successors to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, though. Sources familiar with the matter told Fast Company that the goal of this project is to build a modem into a system-on-a-chip with Apple's A-series processor, GPU, and other iPhone components. In support of the broad deployment of 5G networks, Intel's XMM 8060 chip for 5G networks will be available on prior bases, which is expected in 2020.

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In fact, Intel has reportedly deployed an arm of "multiple thousands" of people working on 5G.

If this report is accurate, Intel may takeover Qualcomm's business with Apple. From the Apple iPhone 4s through the Apple iPhone 6s, Qualcomm was the sole provider of modem chips for the iPhone. But most of those features may not be used.

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