Taiwanese chip maker MediaTek is probably best known for making processors for smartphones, tablets, and Chromebooks. But this year the company also introduced its first smartphone chip with an integrated 5G modem, and now the company has announced a partnership with Intel to bring 5G modems to Intel-powered laptop computers.

At least two major PC makers seem to be on board: Dell and HP are said to be planning to launch Intel/MediaTek laptops. But you’ll have to wait a little while to get your hands on one — rollout isn’t expected to begin until early 2021.

While MediaTek says its new 5G modems for laptops will be based on the company’s existing Helio M70 5G modem, it seems like it’ll take a little while to adapt that technology into a solution for laptop PCs.

Intel says it will “define a 5G solution specification focused on deployment in key laptop segments,” and “develop and validate platform-level hardware ans software integration, including OS host drivers,” while MediaTek will be responsible for developing the modem.

The two companies also then work with Fibocom to develop M.2 modules.

This announcements comes after Intel dropped plans to develop its own 5G chips in-house. Partnering with MediaTek could help Intel offer a solution for PC makers at a time when rival chip maker Qualcomm is not only offering 4G and 5G chips, but also whole system-on-a-chip solutions that can power Windows laptops and tablets like the new Surface Pro X.

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4 replies on “MediaTek is developing 5G modems for PCs with Intel chips”

  1. I guess what’s most interesting about this, for me personally, is that Intel is supposedly the one making the software and drivers. That is, it’s more likely for them to upstream the drivers into the Linux kernel because Intel upstreams their work more often than many other hardware companies.

    Mobile broadband modems on Linux is even more hit or miss than Wi-Fi. Hoping to use this modem (hopefully it supports LTE as well) on a Linux PC in the future.

  2. I hope Mediatek is smarter than RockChip & Unisoc (formerly Spreadtrum). Intel IP might look good on paper, but I have yet to see a profitable product that integrates it. It is better as a standalone IC. Yes, there are power advantages of integrating it, just remember the curse.

    1. From what I understand they are not using Intel IP but the other way around. Intel is paying them to use their modems (or working with them so that OEMs can pay for them). But either way it’s mediatek products being integrated into Intel’s.

      1. Sorry, my mistake… Intel sold their modem team to Apple. They will just provide the specification to Mediatek, and use the Mediatek IP.

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