Specifically, the chips are designed for 1xEV-DO Revision A systems. "Rev A" is a follow-on to 1xEV-DO service that a number of wireless operators -- Verizon and Sprint in the U.S. -- have been rolling out. That current service provides typical speeds of between 300 Kbps and 400 Kbps. Verizon has said it expects to start field tests of 1xEV-DO Rev A in late 2006.
While EV-DO is based on CDMA technology, GSM-based operators have been rolling out UMTS service now and will upgrade to HSDPA, which will support speeds similar to those promised by Rev A. In the U.S., Cingular has said it will start rolling out HSDPA next year, although unconfirmed stories have been circulating that the carrier could roll out the next-generation 3G service in a small handful of U.S. cities by the end of 2005.
In addition to faster speeds, 1xEV-DO Rev A supports Quality of Service, which is needed for optimal multimedia and voice-over-IP applications.