Qualcomm joins power phone component race

Chip maker Qualcomm - seen as the leader in the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) space - is releasing a strongerset of power...

Chip maker Qualcomm - seen as the leader in the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) space - is releasing a strongerset of power chips for mobile devices next year. 

Only last week Nokia announced it would start producing more powerful CDMA chip sets in conjunction with Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics.

"It's going to add a lot of heat in the game," said Tim Shelton, a senior analyst at Allied Business Intelligence. "There is definitely a race to integrate components in the handset." 

Shelton said the chip makers' goal is to consolidate as many jobs as possible on as few chips as possible inside the handsets, adding that Qualcomm's announcement called for a dual CPU on a single chip, which puts "two functions into one chip".

Qualcomm said the dual CPU would have one processor handling multimode modems and time-critical functions, with the second available as a general-purpose processor. 

"We believe we can get a lower cost point and much lower power consumption," said Johan Lodenius, Qualcomm's senior vice president of marketing and product management.

"Whatever it is, part PDA, part phone, part entertainment device, it's enabling you to carry all the data you need to carry and control the devices that you will encounter in your daily life, acting as a central hub for the consumer,"  he added.

Lodenius said the chips were designed after consulting Qualcomm's customers looking for the convergence of digital photography and video, games and phones into single devices.

However, users of mobile devices are unlikely to see such progress until 2005 or 2006. 

Shelton said it was too early to tell how the competition between Nokia and Qualcomm will shake out.

Brian Sullivan writes for Computerworld

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