Intel has announced the formation of a new business group focused on networking and custom logic, talking up 5G technology even as it winds down its modem business.

Although Intel had been front-runner in the race to replace Qualcomm as the key supplier for Apple's iPhone and iPad modems for the 5G New Radio era, the company announced it was shuttering its modem business back in April owing, it claimed, to the fact that 'there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns' in the market. Despite this, Intel's Dan McNamara has waxed lyrical about the future of cellular connectivity as the announcement is made that he is to head up a new Network and Custom Logic group at the company.

'Not just another "G," or generation, of wireless, 5G will unleash new ways to use computing – not only offering speed and performance, but also low latency and reliability that ensure some of the capabilities that today’s network cannot deliver,' McNamara claims. 'For example, with this ultra-reliable low latency (URLL), companies can enable new safe ways to use robotics in factories, even working side by side with humans, and secure machine-to-machine communications. 5G will also greatly enhance the way we enjoy entertainment and media, and will help healthcare providers do their jobs more efficiently, incorporating computing, AI and sensors for better patient monitoring. All of these new applications will benefit from the intersection of communications and computing at the edge.'

5G isn't the sole focus of McNamara's new group, though. Combining the previously-separate network infrastructure division with the Programmable Solutions Group (PSG), the Network and Custom Logic Group is to focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning, powered by the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology the company picked up when it acquired Altera back in 2015.

'I’m excited to serve our customers in this new role. With a focus on customers, a passion for our technology, and a commitment to learn, we have built a very successful, profitable and growing business for Intel,' crows McNamara. 'And I believe the best is yet to come.'

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