Brace yourself for rumors and wild speculations surrounding the world’s first 5G smartphone. This is bound to happen now that Intel has announced a number of 5G models and acknowledged that some of these new products are meant for future phones.

Not just phones, though! The new XMM 8000 series 5G modems will make their way into a range of devices including PCs, wireless consumer premise equipment (CPE), and automobiles, just to name a few.

Intel 5G modems
Image By: Intel Corp

Those of you that have followed Intel’s product roadmap for a while, you will probably agree that this is indeed an essential step for the chip giant when it comes to fulfilling its proclaimed commitment to expedite the migration to the next-generation wireless communication standard.

“Intel is committed to delivering leading 5G multi-mode modem technology and making sure the transition to 5G is smooth,” said Dr. Cormac Conroy, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Communication and Devices Group. “Our investments in a full portfolio of modem technologies and products are critical to achieving the vision of seamless 5G connectivity.”

If everything goes as per plan, XMM 8060, the first XMM 8000 series modem will hit store shelves sometime in mid-2019. Intel is promising multi-modal functionality in the XMM 8060, meaning it will be compatible with non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) configurations for 5G; legacy mobile networks, sub-6GHz spectrum bands; as well as millimeter wave (mmWave) networks.

Chenwei Yan, VP, and GM of Connected Products at Intel Client Computing Group, explained that during the initial phase of 5G deployment, many of the networks would begin with NSA before eventually migrating to SA sometime later. For the uninitiated, it is essential for a commercial device to support both NSA and SA configurations from day-1.

Intel also announced an update on the XMM 7669 LTE modem. The upgraded variant now supports up to 1.6 Gbps and boasts Cat-19 capabilities. Not just that, the new XMM 7669 also features a broader range of band support, career aggregation, and advanced MIMO.

Coming back to the rumors surrounding 5G smartphones, the website Fast Company claims to have received input that Apple and Intel engineers are currently collaborating to equip a future iPhone with the latter’s 5G technology. Considering that the report cites an unnamed source, we urge you to take it with a pinch of salt.

In any case, don’t raise your expectation too high yet. Even if Apple is keen on the 5G upgrade, the 2018 successors to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X won’t be featuring the next-generation wireless communication standard. As already stated, the first XMM 8000 modem will be available commercially only in mid-2019, and the XMM 7660 is unlikely to launch sooner either.

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Shilpa has been associated with several leading sci & tech publications throughout her career as a journalist and columnist. Full-time foodie, semi-skilled musician, wannabe novelist.