What happened: Taiwan-based chipmaker MediaTek on Wednesday released a new chip that contains the company’s 5G modem at the Computex trade show in Taiwan. By building in a high-powered processor and artificial intelligence, the new 5G chip is designed for high-end smartphones, challenging Qualcomm’s market dominance. Market leader Qualcomm released its second-generation 5G chip for smartphones in February. Huawei and Samsung are also developing 5G chips to supply their own phones. Intel said it would exit the 5G modem business after Apple reached a deal with Qualcomm.
Why it’s important: The new 5G chip makes MediaTek one of the few companies in the world that have the ability to supply chips that connect phones to the next generation of wireless networks. But the MediaTek chip can only handle one of the two variants of 5G networks, known as the sub-6 variants. That means it will not work on some 5G networks from carriers such as Verizon and AT&T from the US that use another variant, the millimeter wave. The company said such design would help keep the chip’s costs down and it could be used on networks of major carriers such as T-Mobile in the US and many Chinese networks.