Intel will not make the 2020 iPhone’s 5G modem

intel logo 5g

Intel is bowing out of the 5G smartphone modem race altogether, the American chipmaker announced in a brief statement on Tuesday.

The company will instead assess “opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices”.

While Intel will “continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line”, it “does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020”.

One of those 5G modem products, Intel’s XMM 8160 5G modem, was set to be used on the likes of Apple’s 2020 iPhone.

Intel did supply the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR with modems. But a Fast Company report from March suggests that the chipmaker was not ready to step up fabrication processes to keep up with Apple’s insatiable appetite.

Apple is now set to use Qualcomm’s 2020 iPhone modems, after yesterday’s legal hug between the two firms ended its long-running litigation dispute.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom for Intel.

The company’s CEO Robert Swan remained “excited” by the prospect of 5G, but noted the firm was aware that developing the tech for smartphones yields “no clear path to profitability and positive returns”.

“5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world,” Swan concluded.

Expect Intel’s Q1 2019 earnings report to drop on 25 April.

Feature image: Christian Rasmussen via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0, resized)

Andy Walker, former editor


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