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Qualcomm's 802.11nlightenment

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Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) is finally warming up to 802.11, at least for some multimedia applications.

The cellular superstar is traditionally downbeat on pretty much any wireless technology that doesn't begin with a "C" and end in "DMA"; but it recently joined up with the TGn Sync group working on developing the new 108-Mbit/s high-speed WiFi standard, 802.11n (see Qualcomm Joins TGn Sync).

Paul Jacobs, the new boss at the big Q, shed a little light on Qualcomm's move towards 802.11, on the firm's second-quarter earnings call.

"The work we're doing will be increasingly important to allow phones to share multimedia content with other consumer devices," the CEO said on the call.

He didn't add much detail beyond that, but a high-speed, short-range transport mechanism has obvious appeal for Qualcomm, which is already a big proponent of video on phones. If -- as seems likely -- phones become all-singing, all dancing, digital audio and video players, then it will become increasingly necessary to transfer large files at speed among computers, home entertainment centers, and handsets.

Of course, the 802.11n specification process is somewhat stalled at the moment, because of continued strife among the vendors involved. But everything Unstrung has heard suggests that 802.11n products should start to trickle onto the market before the end of next year.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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