Intel has expanded its hardware range with another module in its growing portfolio of 4G LTE solutions. The XMM 7160 claims to be one of the smallest LTE solutions out there and it's already shipping in Samsung's Intel-based Galaxy Tab 3.
However, it is still a module and Intel will not have an integrated LTE solution until 2014, if then. Intel expects the first LTE-enabled phones based on its SoCs to show up next year, but they will not have integrated LTE.
The XM7160 supports HSPA and GSM in addition to 15 LTE bands. It also supports VoLTE services. Intel plans to introduce an even more advanced LTE module next year, with support for new advanced LTE features used by some networks. Intel is also offering the M.2 LTE module, which has practically the same hardware packed in a standard mini PCIe package.
Thomas Lindner, senior director for Multicomm Marketing and Product Planning at Intel, said that LTE has so far presented unique and demanding challenges for device makers.
"There is fragmentation in the market, with over 40 LTE bands in use worldwide, and each country using its own set of bands," he said.
With 15 of these bands in one product, Intel "enables devices to operate on a global basis in all major markets," he added.
Until Intel launches its first truly integrated LTE solution, Qualcomm will continue to dominate the LTE space, pretty much unopposed. Intel is not alone though. Nvidia, Mediatek and Broadcom are all behind Qualcomm and they are struggling to catch up.
However, Samsung and Apple are still absent from the list and they rely on discrete solutions, not to mention countless smaller players, so there's still a market for modules like the XMM 7160.