Microsoft and its hardware partners' efforts with Always Connected PCs are just beginning to show fruit, but Intel is offering a peek at what things might look like by the end of next year. The chipmaker announced today that it is partnering with Microsoft, Dell, HP, and Lenovo to bring 5G connectivity to mobile PCs in the second half of 2019.
While 5G coverage and devices may still be some time away, Intel already has some ideas in mind of how PCs will be able to leverage the next generation of wireless connectivity. From Intel:
Not only will it bring a substantial amount of data needing processing but also new experiences for PC owners. Imagine immersing in untethered VR from anywhere in the world, or downloading a 250 megabyte file in seconds from a parking lot. Or imagine being able to continue participating in a multiplayer game as you ride in an autonomous vehicle on the way to class. Radically different. This is just a sampling of the experiences 5G will reimagine for the mobile PC. As this transformation of data continues, it's critical for PCs to be ready with 5G.
The announcement comes just as Mobile World Congress 2018 is getting ready to kick off in Barcelona, and Intel says it will have a demo on hand at the event using a detachable 2-in-1 PC powered by a 5G modem and Intel's eighth-generation Core i5 processor. The concept device will be used to show off live streaming video over a 5G networks, Intel says. That's quite a bit less impressive than the future use cases Intel envisions for 5G on PCs, but the company views it as "one of many stepping stones for moving the industry forward in what's possible for 5G-enabled PCs."
While the second half of 2019 is Intel's current target for bringing 5G to PCs, it's always a possibility that could be pushed back. It also remains to be seen how widespread actual 5G coverage from carriers will be by that point. Still, the idea of tapping into a super speedy connection from your laptop while in a cab or on a train is tantalizing.