Last month, Intel announced Thunderbolt 3 for everyone offering up to 100W of power, external graphics card support and up to 40 Gbps speeds on data transfer. However, things took a shocking turn for the American semiconductor company as it bowed out the 5G race earlier last week.
Intel has now come out and stated why it shut down its 5G business concluding that it was not up to them for not continuing the production of their 5G modems. Intel CEO Bob Swan revealed in an interview with The Wall Street Journal said that it was Apple vs Qualcomm settlement which led to the company’s exit from the 5G market.
On April 16, we saw Apple and Qualcomm come to a surprise settlement and within hours after the news broke out, Intel announced that it’s quitting the 5G modem business. At the time, we weren’t quite sure if it was the settlement which prompted Intel to quit or whether Intel’s quitting had resulted in Apple and Qualcomm making amends.
Swan told The WSJ “In light of the announcement of Apple and Qualcomm, we assessed the prospects for us to make money while delivering this technology for smartphones and concluded at the time that we just didn’t see a path”.
However, Swan revealed that Intel will be supplying 4G modems for the iPhones that will be released this year. The Intel CEO explained that the company is on track to launch the next version of the XMM 7660 modem this fall. Swan said, “Our expectation is we will continue to deliver on the 4G modem throughout the course of this year, including the second iteration of that product coming in the fall back to school season”.
With the latest announcement, we could be sure of one thing – Apple iPhones launching this year won’t support 5G networks. This is because it’s too late switch to Qualcomm’s modems for the next iteration of iPhones which we can expect to be out by September 2019.
Intel isn’t completely out of the 5G race either as the company is currently working on infrastructure and networking products that could benefit from 5G solutions. Swan also said that Intel is “evaluating alternatives on what’s the best course” for its 5G smartphone modem business which it recently shut.