Huawei unveils its first 5G chip in a challenge to Qualcomm and Intel

Huawei on Sunday unveiled its first chip to enable mobile devices to access 5G internet speeds.

3GPP, a body that governs cellular standards globally, agreed late last year to a specification for how 5G should work. 5G refers to the next generation of mobile internet that could help power future driverless cars and even internet-connected infrastructure in cities.

Huawei claims that it can hit download speeds of 2.3 gigabits per second, significantly faster than speeds reached on current 4G networks.

By releasing its own 5G chip, Huawei is taking on the likes of Qualcomm, which already has its own modem called the X50. Qualcomm’s modem for mobile devices recently managed to hit speeds of 4.51 gigabits per second.

And earlier this week Intel announced a partnership with Microsoft, Dell, HP, and Lenovo to create 5G-enabled laptops based on Intel’s own modems.

Owning the chipset capabilities will allow Huawei to have more control over the design and performance of its devices. It also means it may have to rely less on external suppliers. Huawei has been focusing recently on its own chips. Last year it launched a chipset called the Kirin 970 to allow artificial intelligence experiences on its smartphones. It is currently used in the Mate 10 Pro.

It’s unclear if Huawei will license its Balong 5G01 chipset to other device makers.

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