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6/1/2009
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Qualcomm Shows Off New Mobile Chips

The latest in Qualcomm's Snapdragon line of chips will power high-end smartphones as well as a new class of devices called smartbooks.

Qualcomm chips in netbooks
(click image for larger view)
Qualcomm chips in netbooks

Qualcomm introduced the latest product in its Snapdragon line Monday, and the company said the new chipset will enable manufacturers to create mobile devices with faster processing and longer battery life.

The QSD8650A chipset uses 45-nanometer process technology that should use 30% less power than previous-generation chips. The new chipset also has a 1.3-GHz processor, enhanced multimedia graphics, and support for mobile TV technologies. The chipset also will have integrated GPS, high-definition video recording and playback, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth capabilities, and mobile broadband connectivity.

The company envisions the chipset powering the next generation of mobile devices, including high-end smartphones like Toshiba's TG01. The company also is trying to create a new class of devices that fits in between smartphones and netbooks. Qualcomm said these devices, which are being called "smartbooks," will combine the productivity of a netbook with the portability and long battery life of a smartphone.

"This latest addition to the growing family of Snapdragon chipsets will help our customers to develop faster, more power-efficient smartphones and smartbooks," said Luis Pineda, senior VP of marketing at Qualcomm, in a statement. "This new 45-nanometer device shows our continued commitment to extending the capabilities of the Snapdragon platform with leading-edge process technology and an expanded list of integrated features."

Qualcomm said smartbooks should hit the market by the fourth quarter, but it's unclear how successful these devices will be. While a long-lasting, powerful mobile computing device could be appealing, the Snapdragon chipset is not compatible with Microsoft's operating systems, which means these smartbooks will run a version of Linux, or possibly the Google-backed Android. Windows has been the preferred OS by a wide margin in the subnotebook and netbook market.


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