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Qualcomm Planning Multifunction Chips for 2009

Fri, 12/12/2008 - 7:05am
Evan Koblentz, Wireless Week

Qualcomm is closely watching the worldwide economy but is moving forward with plans to build a variety of new multimode wireless chips in 2009.

Cristiano Amon, senior vice president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, said a major variable for next year’s product development will be the fate of its customers.  “We’re trying to understand what is the market going forward… what is the state of the economy and its impact on the operators.  Whether the volume is going to be better, the same, or different than this year,” he said.

“On one hand, we have the economic situation of the United States, which is very difficult to correlate. On the other hand, we think 3G in China could boost the CDMA2000 ecosystem. We’re hopeful that the Christmas season and the first quarter of 2009 will give us a little more visibility into what the outlook really is,” he added. Qualcomm also sees 1x EV-DO still growing in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Southeast Asia.

On the product front, “we are moving forward with all of our R&D for China, specifically CDMA2000.  We are introducing a new suite of products,” he said. Qualcomm previously only had single-band, 800 MHz chips for its entry-level series, but now it will make multiband chips with 450 MHz and 700 MHz support to compete against GSM, he said. Those are due in the first quarter.

Later in 2009, for the Americas, Qualcomm will make a chip that combines multiband EV-DO Rev. A, EDGE and GSM/GPRS. “In theory, as OEMs update their designs to new chips, every single phone becomes a global roaming phone,” Amon explained.

That chip does not yet have a name and will probably be announced at the 3G Americas show, he said.

There also will be a global 3G chip combining CDMA, LTE and UMTS. For LTE chips in general, Qualcomm is now in the silicon development stage and will move on in 2009 to software development, prototyping and testing.

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