Qualcom just announced the chip that would be a one-stop shop for Apple’s mobile needs
Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:14 PM
Chip maker Qualcomm today took the wraps off its new piece of silicon, a fifth iteration of their Gobi reference platform. It packs in a comprehensive support for TD-SCDMA, TD-LTE, LTE on FDD and TDD networks worldwide and has embedded GPS capability. Of course, it also supports the usual HSPA+ and EV-DO for backwards compatibility. Such a powerful combo in theory allows Gobi products to connect to the faster LTE network locally and stay connected to the Internet globally on 3G networks worldwide.
Now, Qualcomm notes in a press release (included after the break) that the chip is designed to work with Windows 8 and Android devices plus x86 and Qualcomm’s own dual- and quad-core Snapdragon system-on-a-chip solutions. For all we know, this could be the chip inside the iPad 3. Also, it could appear in a future iPhone at some point. The yet-to-be-announced iPhone 5 or 4G iPad running this new gobi chip would theoretically enable Apple to tap a single hardware in targeting a variety of carriers who often use different and incompatible radio technologies.
This includes the world’s biggest carrier China Mobile whose infrastructure is built around TD-LTE radio technology. Put simply, the new Gobi chip could allow for true world-phone compatibility. It’s worth noting that almost every 3G iOS device since the Verizon iPhone utilizes Qualcomm’s Gobi platform, the only exception being the the AT&T iPad which still runs an older Infineon chip. One thing is certain: Apple has yet to ship its first 4G LTE mobile device.
4G TD-LTE is not to be confused with 4G LTE as these two radio technologies are incompatible and TD-LTE is predominantly used in Asia. China Mobile’s third-generation TD-SCDMA network also doesn’t support current iPhones as TD-SCDMA radio technology is incompatible with CDMA used by Verizon Wireless in the United States. The fifth-gen Gobi chip would solve all those incompatibilities in one fell swoop. And as Apple doubled its addressable market in China by bringing the iPhone 4S on March 9 to the 130 million China Telecom subscribers, the company would be foolish to ignore the 655 million China Mobile customers.
Qualcomm Announces Fifth Generation Embedded Data Connectivity Reference Platform
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced its fifth generation Gobi™ embedded data connectivity reference platform for mobile devices, including thin form factor laptops, tablets and convertibles. Based on Qualcomm’s Gobi 4G LTE wireless baseband modems, the MDM9615™ and MDM9215™, the technology delivers fast LTE connectivity on FDD and TDD networks worldwide, with backwards compatibility to both HSPA+ and EV-DO networks. This will allow support for regional LTE frequencies with backwards compatibility to existing 2G/3G technologies, allowing Gobi 4G LTE devices to connect to the faster LTE network locally and stay connected to the Internet globally on 3G networks worldwide. The reference platform will support leading operating systems, such as Windows 8 and Android, with a broadband interface with carrier selection. It is also designed to support these leading operating systems on multiple processing platforms, including our Snapdragon™ dual-core and quad-core processors and x86 platforms.
Embedded modules based on the Gobi fifth generation reference platform will initially be available from Huawei, Novatel Wireless, Option, Sierra Wireless and ZTE in several form factors and regional configurations, making them a compelling 4G LTE solution for a variety of connected mobile devices.
“Mobile computing and broadband connectivity have already become indispensable tools in the road warrior’s arsenal,” said Fram Akiki, senior director of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. “With Windows 8, we expect to see an increasing variety of mobile computing devices also in use by connected consumers around the world. Our Gobi fifth generation reference platform helps ensure that OEMs can develop products across their choice of operating systems and hardware platforms to meet the growing demand for mobile connectivity.”
Qualcomm’s latest Gobi 4G LTE connectivity reference platform includes embedded GPS capability and features an application programming interface (API) with LTE extensions, which is compatible with leading connectivity standards, including CDMA2000® 1xEV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B, HSPA+, dual-carrier HSPA+, TD-SCDMA and LTE, with integrated backwards compatibility to HSPA and EV-DO. The API provides a common software interface for developing connection managers, GPS applications and other manageability or security solutions that help connect, locate and manage a broad range of 3G/4G devices, regardless of wireless technology and operating system. This interface will help streamline product development efforts, spur application development among third-party software developers, and deliver greater flexibility to device manufacturers.
“As one of the most widely used business PCs in the world, Dell Latitude brand laptops need to support a broad range of technology so our customers can connect virtually anywhere and at any time, and Qualcomm’s Gobi platform helps us achieve this,” said Kirk Schell, executive director and general manager of Dell’s Business Client Product Group. “As mobile broadband technologies evolve, Qualcomm’s Gobi technology is an option our customers frequently select to stay connected no matter what kind of network they are on thanks to its multi-mode capabilities.”
“Qualcomm’s Gobi platform has proven to be a compelling wireless solution for embedded mobile broadband connectivity, adding to the performance, security and reliability of our ThinkPad laptops,” said Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager, ThinkPad, Lenovo. “We look forward to giving our customers an even faster mobile Internet experience with Gobi 4G LTE technology.”
“Huawei’s mobile broadband modules and data cards are used by OEMs and consumers worldwide, so support for multi-mode operation is a key feature of our products,” said He Jinjun, director of Device Module Business, Huawei. “Qualcomm’s fifth generation Gobi reference platform will give our LTE devices the multi-mode support they need to remain connected virtually anywhere.”
“Our Expedite Module portfolio contains multiple products offering LTE support based on Qualcomm’s Gobi technology,” said Rob Hadley, chief marketing officer, Novatel Wireless. “We look forward to offering our OEM customers new embedded modules using next-generation technology targeting devices such as notebooks, netbooks and tablets.
“At Option, we have a long standing relationship with Qualcomm in providing innovative 3G, 4G LTE and WLAN connectivity solutions with enhanced performance, functionality and usability,” said Bernard Schaballie, general manager, embedded solutions, Option. “Qualcomm’s Gobi technology has been a key enabler and we look forward to using its fifth generation Gobi reference platform in our new GTM801 LGA module family.”
“Sierra Wireless has offered wireless modules with LTE support since 2010, and Qualcomm Gobi technology has been important to the success of our LTE module program,” said Dan Schieler, senior vice president and general manager, Mobile Computing for Sierra Wireless. “Our LTE modules give OEMs the ability to embed support for the latest mobile broadband technology in a variety of connected devices, and the fifth generation Gobi reference platform will help ensure these connections provide a fast, consistent user experience.”
“Qualcomm’s Gobi technology has been used in many of our mobile broadband USB modems and mobile hotspots for some time now,” said Dr. Liu ShuLiang, data product planning director, ZTE. “LTE will give mobile consumers the fast data rates and reliable connections they need to make their mobile computing experience a productive one. We look forward to delivering fast LTE USB modems based on the Gobi technology.”
As one of the largest providers of wireless chipset and software technology in the industry, Qualcomm has a diverse chipset and software product portfolio spanning multiple device classes. System designers now have the flexibility to choose from multiple embedded Gobi solutions, ranging from 3G through high-speed, multi-operator 4G LTE. Qualcomm also offers its family of Snapdragon all-in-one processors with the option for integrated multimode 3G/4G, dual-band Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth, FM radio connectivity and differing numbers of CPU cores for the most power-efficient designs.
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