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Damn you, Qualcomm!

TIL: The reason I don’t have a cellular radio in my laptop is that Qualcomm bases its supposedly FRAND prices on the cost of the device their radios are put into, not the cost of the chip. Qualcomm get more for an iPhone 7 ($1000) than an iPhone SE ($500), and would get much, much more for an MBP. Thus Apple using the Intel modem as much as possible, even though it’s markedly worse than the Qualcomm chip.

That’s why you can have an iPad with WiFi, or WiFi + cellular for $130 more, or a $130 USB dongle for your MBP, but you can’t have an MBP WiFi + cellular. Because the Qualcomm tax on a $5k device would be way more than the Qualcomm tax on $130.

On the other hand, it seems like Qualcomm is leaving money on the table – virtually no laptops have cellular modems in them, and most people can’t be bothered with a dongle. There’s got to be a point where the two curves meet, and they could lower the price to where the added cost to the laptop wouldn’t be a big Nope.

This is why we can’t have nice things.