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Today Intel Corp. said it would add HSPA functionality to its Moorsetown chips slated to hit mobile Internet devices in 2009 or 2010. Coming from a firm that has spent billions pushing WiMAX the news reads like an admission of doubt for WiMAX, but it’s really just a recognition that wireless broadband is so central to the user experience.

Today Intel Corp. said it would add HSPA cellular connectivity to its Moorsetown chipsets, slated to hit mobile Internet devices in 2010. Coming from a firm that has spent billions pushing WiMAX, the news reads like an admission of doubt for the nascent 4G wireless broadband network build out by Sprint and Clearwire — but it’s really just a recognition that wireless broadband is so central to user experience that having multiple options makes sense.

This is great news for all of us waiting for truly ubiquitous broadband, especially since Intel previously abandoned an idea to put some sort of 3G radios in its Centrino laptops back in 2007, saying customers weren’t too hot on the technology. As for WiMAX, Intel will offer that for Moorestown too, but it will be a while before WiMAX has the coverage options required to support users traveling outside of a few WiMAX enabled cities.

Wi-Fi didn’t skyrocket to popularity overnight, and neither will WiMAX, so any smart chip firm will build multiple radios into its chipsets in order to make OEMs happy. What the announcement should be read as is continuing confirmation that ubiquitous broadband is here to stay — and that Intel means to really compete with cellular chipmakers in the MID market.

Ericsson provides the 3.5G radio platform for Moorestown, which in addition to data could offer voice, expanding the range of gadgets into which Intel could sell the Moorestown chips. We’ve already covered how nebulous this market for larger-than-a-phone, smaller-than-a-laptop devices is, so it makes sense that Intel’s offering as many options as possible.

  1. I would also add that Intel commits also to WiMAX in any spectrum with the new Evans Peak WiMAX Module.
    The new module works with WiMAX spectrum from 2.3Ghz to 2.7Ghz also 3.4Ghz to 3.8Ghz.

    — WiMAXED.com

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  2. So finally, Intel bites the HSPA dust. Glad to see that it is facing up to reality and competing with Qualcomm on their Snapdragon and Gobi chip offering. Just as I predicted:

    http://mobilebroadbandblog.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/3g-embedded-netbooks-killer-product/

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  3. It’s no large change in silicon, WiMax and LTE are both based of OFDM, so I’d have expected it, anyway. If they make the silicon a full software defined radio (SDR) data layer then other protocols are possible.

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  4. [...] technology, or a recognition that you need multiple options for mobile broadband? According to the GigaOm site: This is great news for all of us waiting for truly ubiquitous broadband, especially since [...]

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  5. [...] and other devices requiring embedded chips last summer. Also last year it said it would integrate HSPA radios onto its Moorestown chipset for use in ultraportable computers. Some read this as a snub for WiMAX, but it’s really a [...]

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  6. [...] MID with LG Electronics that will include 3G voice capabilities. The MID will run on Intel’s Moorestown chipsets, and debut next year. Also at the show, Intel is announcing a partnership with wireless handset [...]

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  7. [...] MID with LG Electronics that will include 3G voice capabilities. The MID will run on Intel’s Moorestown chipsets, and debut next year. Also at the show, Intel is announcing a partnership with wireless handset [...]

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  8. [...] Moorestown platform will connect to an HSPA radio from ST-Ericsson, and will compete against ARM-based platforms offered by Nvidia, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and [...]

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