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Qualcomm Breaks the Gigahertz Barrier on Smartphones

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Qualcomm (s QCOM) has just released a new chip family focused on smartphones, including one that breaks the gigahertz barrier. The chips’ capabilities make clear that the line between phones and low-end notebooks are blurring. They’re based on the Scorpion CPU that is at the heart of Snapdragon chipsets and uses an 800 MHz to 1 GHz custom ARM-based CPU.

This new chip family, the horribly named MSM7x30, can do 720p HD video (encode/decode), 2-D and 3-D graphics, and has surround sound, integrated GPS and a 12-Megapixel camera as well as all the usual trimmings like Bluetooth and Wi-fi and FM Radio 3G (both flavors). On the multimedia front, Qualcomm is playing catch-up Texas Instruments (s TXN) and Nvidia (s NVID). The new chips work with all smartphone operating systems except Apple’s iPhone OS. They will be launched sometime next year and are optimized for the web experience.

4 Responses to “Qualcomm Breaks the Gigahertz Barrier on Smartphones”

  1. At PayPal Innovate conference in San Francisco a week or so ago, I attended the forum on the future of mobile app stores, with panelists from Qualcomm, Motorola, and the CEO of GetJar, Ilja Laurs. After the panel session, I asked him what he thought about the future of mobile browser based applications. He discussed the lack of support of rich native functionality such as location awareness and other rich features, that now are only accessible through the respective proprietary APIs (i.e. Xcode, BlackBerry JDE, etc.). But we also touched on the lack of processing power on mobile phones to drive apps on the mobile browser, the same way that we drive browser-based apps on the desktop.

    Hearing news like this (Qualcomm breaking GHz barrier for smart phones) is encouraging. Desktop browser based apps are becoming main stream in our every day work flow, and pushing beyond our previous expectations of what applications can do inside the browser. We use mapping and office applications in our browser and receive a fairly consistent experience across different platforms.. and that is where we’ll be heading in the future with mobile application development, too. It’s only a matter of time that we have Opera, Firefox, Safari and IE working on our smart phones, with additional plug-ins to access our devices’ rich native functions, rather than completely different development platforms for each device.