Intel gives up on 5G modems for smartphones, will focus on other devices

Intel has killed off any plans it had for producing 5G mobile modems, as detailed in a press release sent out on Tuesday, April 16. Instead of looking further into making 5G modems, Intel will instead be focusing its efforts on other avenues in the 5G space, like infrastructure and modems for other devices, including laptops, PCs, connected smart devices, and similar non-smartphone devices.

Despite professing excitement in the “cloudification” of networks allowed by 5G, Intel CEO Bob Swan blames the lack of a “clear path to profitability and positive returns” within the smartphone modem market as the reason for Intel’s sudden exit. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property,” Swan continues. “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.”

However, it’s worth pointing out that other factors may have swayed Intel’s hand. Namely, the settlement in the long-running legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm. The same day saw the two companies announce the end of their legendary battle with a six-year settlement that will see Apple rely on Qualcomm for more of its hardware. Most notably, this will mean Apple has more options where 5G is concerned.

Intel had previously supplied the modems for the entire range of 2018 iPhones, and it was rumored Intel’s modems would power 5G connectivity in 2020’s iPhones. However, Intel’s delay on 5G modems means Apple would be far behind in 5G compared to competitors, putting the company at a severe disadvantage. Having the ability to instead buy 5G modems from Qualcomm, who has already created a working 5G modem, would be a large boost for Apple. Not that Apple should overly worry about 5G connectivity though — a survey from the start of 2019 showed that most Americans thought Apple was leading the way in 5G, despite not having any 5G-capable hardware.

Viewed in this light, it could be assumed Intel is folding at the sight of Qualcomm’s significantly stronger hand. However, it’s worth pointing out that while Qualcomm now holds something of a monopoly in the U.S., it’s far from the only player in the game, with Mediatek and Huawei producing their own modems. The practical birth of 5G also only just happened, with Verizon recently turning on its 5G network in a handful of U.S. cities, so it all remains an open field.

Deals

Ultra Wideband is here, and you can use it with the 5G Moto Mod (and save $150)

5G is rolling out in the U.S., and Motorola’s Moto Z3 is one of the few phones that can use it. Select people can take advantage of Verizon’s 5G service and enjoy a $150 discount with the purchase of a Moto Z3 and 5G Moto Mod bundle.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 update gives manual control of Bright Night mode

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Mobile

Apple and Qualcomm settle all disputes, reach six-year agreement on chips

Apple and Qualcomm have announced that they have settled all disputes between them around the world -- and not only that, but have also agreed to a six-year agreement for Qualcomm to supply Apple with chips.
Computing

HP’s new Zbook, EliteBook 800 workstations go 4K with 8th-gen Intel CPUs

HP's new line of workstation laptops includes some seriously durable EliteBook and ZBook designs, with options for high-end, eighth-generation Intel CPUs, 2TB of storage, and discrete AMD Radeon graphics chips.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!
Deals

The excellent Moto G6 is just $99 from Google Fi for a limited time

Getting a cheap smartphone can be a great way to squeeze value out of your dollars. Motorola's Moto G-range has always been good value, but never better than this: Get the Moto G6 for just $99 from Google Fi.
Product Review

The Xperia 10 Plus feels great in your hand, but you'll still want to put it down

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone with an unusual design, and one of the cheaper models out there vying for your attention is the Sony Xperia 10 Plus, with its 21:9 aspect ratio screen.
Mobile

Keep your huge phone beautiful with the best iPhone XS Max cases

Apple's iPhone XS Max might be the best large phone the company has ever released. But a bigger OLED display and body means there's more glass to crack. Keep your massive phone safe with the best iPhone XS Max cases.
Deals

Apple iPads and iPad Pros get price cuts up to $150 on Amazon

In the market for a new iPad? Now might be the time to buy -- Amazon has discounted a range of iPad models, including the 10.5-inch, 11-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, plus the standard iPad.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Mobile

The 15 most stylish iPhone docks and charging stands for your device

The right iPhone dock does more than just hold your phone. If you’re looking for the perfect dock for your bedroom, or one to sit discretely on your office desk, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.
Trash

How to save yourself money by buying a refurbished iPhone

There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new iPhone, and it can be very expensive. Save yourself some heartache and some money with our guide on how to buy a refurbished iPhone.
Mobile

BlackBerry Messenger to shut down in May, be replaced by enterprise version

BlackBerry Messenger for consumers will shut down at the end of May, nearly six years after it was launched. The app is going back to its roots, in a way, as it is being replaced by the much simpler BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise.
Deals

Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches get big price cuts

The Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 are at some of the lowest prices we've seen since so far this year. With discounts from Amazon and Walmart, now is a great time to find spring savings on wearables.