Intel says its multimode, 5G modem for smartphones will be available by the second half of 2019, shortening the launch timeline by more than six months.
The XMM 8160 chipset will support 5G NR, including standalone and non-standalone modes, along with 4G, 3G, and 2G legacy radios.
Intel says its chip, which will be smaller than the size of a penny, will support millimeter wave spectrum bands, as well as sub-6 GHz, including FDD and TDD bands from 600 MHz to 6 GHz. The modem can handle peak download speeds of 6 Gbps and represents improvements in power, size and scalability, according to the company.
Intel said commercial devices, including phones, PCs, and broadband access gateways are expected to roll out in the first half of 2020.
“Intel’s new XMM 8160 5G modem provides the ideal solution to support large volumes for scaling across multiple device categories to coincide with broad 5G deployments,” said Cormac Conroy, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Communication and Devices Group, in a statement. “We are seeing great demand for the advanced feature set of the XMM 8160, such that we made a strategic decision to pull in the launch of this modem by half a year to deliver a leading 5G solution.”
This news comes after reports earlier this month said Apple will unveil its first 5G iPhone in 2020, using Intel’s 8161 5G modem chip.
However, according to FastCompany, Apple was not pleased with Intel over challenges related to solving heat dissipation problems stemming from the 8060 chip, which was used for prototyping.
Apple first started using Intel modems exclusively in its latest version of iPhones. Apple is still in the midst of legal battles with chip giant Qualcomm.
Major Android device manufacturers such as Huawei and Xiaomi are expected to release 5G smartphones in 2019, and Qualcomm executives said last month that they anticipate “at least two waves of major flagship” smartphones next year.