Comms chips

Qualcomm Plots 1.5GHz Tablet Processor

LONDON -- Innovation Qualcomm 2010 -- Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) CEO Paul Jacobs announced here at the IQ 2010 event in London today that the company is sampling a 1.5GHz dual-core processor that will be available in mobile devices at the end of next year.

Not only did Jacobs confirm the status of Qualcomm's 1.5GHz Snapdragon chipset, but he also said that the company's first dual-core 1.2GHz processors will be in commercial devices in the first quarter of next year.

So, hold on to your hats, kids, because Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered smartphones and tablets are going to get a whole lot faster and consume less power next year. (See CES: Oh Snap! Qualcomm Does Android.)

These 1.2GHz and 1.5GHz dual-core processors are the defining features of Qualcomm's third-generation Snapdragon chipsets for smartphone and tablet devices. And dual-core CPUs are all the rage as advanced smartphones, tablets, and netbooks aim for faster PC-like processing speeds while at the same time consuming less power. (See Qualcomm Bolsters Snapdragon, Qualcomm Samples Snapdragon, and Photos From Qualcomm's Uplinq Conference.)

Qualcomm's 1.5GHz Snapdragon chipset is aimed mainly at smartbook and tablet devices, but that doesn't mean it can't be used in smartphones, according to Roberto di Pietro, VP of marketing and business development at Qualcomm. The 1.5GHz product will be "faster with better graphics, and with some special features that better match the smartbook."

"Smartphones [also] need more power, but with the clear goal of optimizing the power consumption," adds di Pietro.

But Qualcomm's dual-core processors won't be the first to show up in commercial devices. Samsung Corp. and LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) will both have 1GHz dual-core processors in devices by the end of this year. (See Samsung & LG Dual It Up.)

LTE smartphones coming
Qualcomm reckons that LTE smartphones will show up on the market toward the end of next year, based on typical product cycles in which smartphones for new radio technologies come onto the market about nine months after data cards and dongles.

The company's LTE products are all multi-mode, supporting not just LTE, but also HSPA, HSDPA, and GSM. Qualcomm also supports a multitude of frequency bands for Europe, including 800MHz, 900MHz, 1.8GHz, and 2.6GHz.

In Europe, Qualcomm is working with Sweden's Net4Mobility, the LTE joint venture between Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) and Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO). The Swedish operator plans to launch LTE with USB dongles from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. by the end of this year. (See Swedish Operators Join Forces in LTE Race and Huawei Beats Ericsson to Swedish LTE Deal.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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