CTIA: embedding Qualcomm

LAS VEGAS–Qualcomm isn’t just about phones anymore. It’s also powering the radio connections of future laptops. According to the chipset maker, “several” laptop makers, including Dell, are incorporating Qualcomm’s data device UMTS and EV-DO radio chips into their PCs and plan to ship them in 2008. What’s more T-Mobile International, Verizon Wireless , Vodafone and Telefonica have either certified said laptops or will complete certification this month. 

This has got to make more than a few companies nervous, particularly Sierra Wireless and Novatel, who have both been leveraging their PC card expertise into the embedded laptop market. If having the king of wireless silicon weren’t bad enough, Novatel and Sierra also have to deal with Ericsson with has become very aggressive in the embedded module space (In fact, Ericsson claims to have an LTE embedded module ready to go).Qualcomm also said its Snapdragon multimedia and radio chipset for handheld data devices has garnered its first customers and will be in commercial devices by the end of 2009. Now that’s got to make Intel a bit nervous, which is targeting the miniature computing market with its Silverthorne chipset.

Qualcomm is clearly putting its stake in the ground, trying to establish its dominance in the mobile data device world just like it has in the voice-centric world of mobile phones. The ironic thing is that this market for mobile broadband was most clearly defined by the WiMAX community, a technology Qualcomm has clearly snubbed. Qualcomm isn’t building WiMAX chipsets just yet, but it knows a good idea when it sees it. WiMAX may have its gadgets and gizmos but CDMA and UMTS operators might just have them to.

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