September 29, 2020

Intel, MediaTek 5G laptops are one step closer to launch

MediaTek is one step closer to bridging the 5G gap on future Intel-based laptops.

The MediaTek M70 5G modem.

  • Intel and MediaTek have announced further progress towards their 5G program.
  • The modem has now completed standalone calls in real-world scenarios.
  • MediaTek’s T700 5G modem aims to bring 5G to Intel laptops from 2021.

Intel may have sold its 5G business to Apple last year, but that hasn’t stopped the chip maker from pressing ahead with integrating other 5G solutions in its platforms.

MediaTek’s new T700 5G modem has completed standalone calls in real-world test environments, bringing it one step closer for use within Intel-based laptops. This is the latest progress report to come from the duo after they confirmed a collaboration late last year which would see MediaTek develop a 5G solution for Intel-based machinery.

“Our partnership with Intel is a natural extension of our growing 5G mobile business, and is an incredible market opportunity for MediaTek to move into the PC market,� said MediaTek president Joe Chen in a press statement.

The T700 5G modem is loosely based on the company’s Helio M70 modem, launched in May 2019 for affordable flagships. Like its stablemate, the T700 also supports sub-6GHz 5G, a more reliable but slower variety of the technology compared to mmWave. MediaTek did confirm last year that mmWave would be supported by its modems in the “future.�

See also: What is 5G and when will you get it?

Intel has also made strides integrating and optimizing the T700 modem in its designs, with customer sampling beginning “later this quarter,� confirmed Intel’s VP of mobile client platforms Chris Walker in a statement to Android Authority. For consumers, the duo expects the first laptops from OEMs to appear in early 2021.

The MediaTek and Intel partnership presents yet another option for those OEMs implementing 5G on their future laptops and portables. And while this partnership’s fruits may not be ripe yet, companies are already pushing ahead with other solutions.

In January, we went hands-on with Dell’s Intel-powered laptops with 5G connectivity from Qualcomm. The San Diego company is also building its own 5G-enabled silicon for ultraportable laptops with the Snapdragon 8c platforms.

Announced late last year, the chip can use the Snapdragon X55 5G modem for connectivity and runs Windows for Arm. We’ve already reviewed one of the first devices sporting this cocktail in the form of the Lenovo Flex 5G, but more devices are expected to appear later this year.

Next: 5G is not going to microwave your brain: All the myths, debunked