good news for Verizon and Sprint users...shouldnt we just become friends [img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img] Qualcomm Drives Next-Gen Handset Advances Send this Article Print ...
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good news for Verizon and Sprint users...shouldnt we just become friends [img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img]
Qualcomm Drives Next-Gen Handset Advances
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By Brian McDonough
April 12, 2002
The new technology supports new memory architectures, which will be key to making the next generation of devices a reality, according to Qualcomm exec Brian Rodrigues. 'There will be all these applications - games, downloadable programs, MIDI clips, video - that will require a lot of memory,' he told Wireless NewsFactor.
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Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) has released new technology that -- in lay terms -- supplies the guts that will allow handset manufacturers to roll out some of the most advanced cell phones to date.
"As we go into the next generation [of wireless services], handsets have to be feature-rich and optimized," Brian Rodrigues, director of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, told Wireless NewsFactor. "Carriers have to provide a whole new feature set around data."
Qualcomm claims the new technology packs more capability into less space than ever. The single-chip MSM6100 3G CDMA2000 1X package incorporates a high-performance ARM926EJ-S CPU and supports video decoding and encoding, a 2D/3D graphics accelerator, a camera interface and new memory architecture that promises high performance and low system cost.
"There are a lot of costs today associated with trying to support applications with secondary processors," Rodrigues said. The 6100, he said, does away with the secondary processors by using a primary chip that can do all the heavy lifting.
The package integrates two QDSP4000 digital signal processor (DSP) cores and supports new, more cost-effective memory architectures. Rodrigues explained that the QDSP4000 DSP eliminates the need for the multimedia companion processors normally required for video-based applications, playing MP3 music files and supporting MIDI synthesizer/CMX functions.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Simultaneously Running Apps
There are three key advantages to the new 6100 technology package, according to Rodrigues. "The first big initiative -- part of the overall 6000 series architecture -- is the new direct Radio One radio optimization," he said. "We've eliminated a lot of processing with intermediate processors, making [the package] smaller and thus more cost-effective for manufacturers to produce."
The second initiative, he said, is the incorporation of the next-generation ARM microprocessor. The ARM926EJ-S core incorporates a low-power, high-performance, 32-bit reduced instruction set computing microprocessor and includes the ARM Jazelle technology for Java acceleration.
"This allows us, in combination with the new generation of DSPs also on the device, to be able to run a lot of data applications simultaneously and in the single chip," he said. "Again, that adds a lot in cost savings and power conservation to the device."
Third, he said, the new technology supports new memory architectures, which will be key to making the next generation of devices a reality. "It's important as we go into more and more application-intensive services and solutions," Rodrigues said. "There will be all these applications -- games, downloadable programs, MIDI clips, video -- that will require a lot of memory."
The MSM6100 chipset and system software also support Qualcomm's gpsOne position location technology, including a standalone mode in which the handset can act as a GPS receiver, he said. Location is widely anticipated as a major component of next-generation consumer data services.
But It Won't Shine Shoes
Qualcomm has thrown an awful lot of capability into the new chipset -- even Bluetooth and BREWapi support. Yet, despite the hype swirling around next-generation services, the U.S. cellular industry -- particularly carriers -- still has not figured out exactly which new services it is going to market to consumers and how to do so.
Meta Group (Nasdaq: METG) senior analyst Jack Gold told Wireless NewsFactor that -- especially when the industry is not sure what it wants -- Qualcomm is smart to offer everything.
"When you're building silicon, adding feature sets is pretty inexpensive," Gold said. "If you're putting out a chip, it makes a lot of sense to throw features in there and let the manufacturer and the carrier decide which they're going to use."
Japanese, Korean Demand
Just because a chip can handle video applications does not mean the phone it goes into has to offer them, Gold said. So the chip can be put into a number of phones tailored for different consumer segments.
Rodrigues said the market is shaping up, and the future is becoming more clear. Already, there is high demand for the capabilities of the MSM6100 in Japan and Korea, where video applications and other 3G services are established and growing. "Korea and Japan are pushing us hardest" for newer, more robust products, he said.
"A lot of products are already being developed and are being rolled out, based on our 5000-series," Rodrigues added. "We're trying to provide handset manufacturers with the next generation of CDMA products to take it to the next step, as markets become more mature in 2003 and 2004."
He said that expert manufacturers have traditionally taken six to nine months to take a chipset and develop handsets. Sample shipments of the MSM6100 chipset and system software are expected to begin in the third quarter.
"We envision that products using the 6100 can be available by the middle of next year," he said.
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