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Qualcomm Targets Handset Advances With Motorola And Samsung

Qualcomm expanded its drive into the GSM 3G market by announcing a collaboration with Motorola on UMTS handsets and unveiling a single-chip UMTS/HSDPA solution.

W. David Gardner

November 13, 2006

2 Min Read

Qualcomm moved Monday to expand its drive into the GSM 3G market by announcing a collaboration with Motorola on UMTS handsets and unveiling a single-chip UMTS/HSDPA solution. Qualcomm topped off the flurry of activity by unveiling details of a new platform called Snapdragon designed to make universal mobility a reality.

The Motorola agreement calls for the two companies to bring UMTS handsets to global markets. Motorola noted that Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem chipsets have been approved for incorporation into its future UMTS handset designs.

"This is a major event," says Joe Nordgaard, managing director of mobile phone consultancy Spectral Advantage. "Qualcomm and Motorola haven't always seen eye to eye over the years," he says, adding that the deal will help both companies move more aggressively into GSM-path markets.

Qualcomm and GSM pacesetter Nokia have been battling each other in bitter litigation over intellectual property for several months, and the Qualcomm/Motorola agreement will help the companies in GSM 3G markets such as EDGE, W-CDMA, UMTS, and HSDPA. Previously, Motorola and Qualcomm had been cooperating on CDMA2000 solutions.

"With Qualcomm now included among our partners for UMTS, we're enhancing our flexibility and expanding our range of options in our drive to design and deliver the world's most innovative and compelling UMTS handsets across experiences and price tiers," says Ron Garriques, president of Motorola's Mobile Devices business.

Qualcomm says its UMTS/HSDPA single-chip technology will lead to savings of up to 50% in board-area components. The company said its QSC6240 product for W-CDMA, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, and its QSC6270 for HSDPA/W-CDMA and GSM/GPRS/EDGE are the first solutions to integrate a monolithic die with power management functionality in a single chip for handsets.

"These one-chip solutions have a number of advantages," says Nordgaard. "More complex handsets can be developed more cost-effectively. New technologies and advances will be added easier in the future, because you can defray costs across many more customers."

Qualcomm said sampling of the new QSC6240 and QSC6270 solutions is scheduled for the third quarter of 2007.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform is also scheduled to begin sampling in the third quarter of 2007. The platform will deliver different mobile broadband capabilities ranging from CDMA2000 EV-DO to W-CDMA/UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA solutions. The platform will also include broadcast TV, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth capabilities, according to the company's announcement.

Qualcomm said Samsung Electronics plans to use Snapdragon in future devices. "It sounds incredibly impressive," says Nordgaard, "when you think about the amount of technology they plan to squeeze into it [Snapdragon]."

At the core of Snapdragon is a 1GHz microprocessor called the Scorpion, which is paired with a 128-bit single-instruction 600 MHz digital signal processor.

"The Snapdragon platform represents the next stage of mobility, opening the door to new opportunities," said Sanjay K. Jha, president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, in a statement.

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