Qualcomm Announces Smartphone Chipsets, Snapdragon Smartbook

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs gives investors a sneak peak at the Snapdragon-powered smartbook, a cross between a smartphone and a netbook. Jacobs said the device would debut at the 2010 Computer Electronics Show (CES) in January.

Wireless technology company Qualcomm announced it is sampling a smartphone chipset family, the MSM7x30, with an emphasis on multimedia performance and supporting high-definition video recording and playback, as well as Lenovo-branded smartbook (a cross between a netbook and a smartphone). The Snapdragon chip is an ARM-based central processing unit (CPU) developed by for use in smartphones and mobile computing devices. Network operator AT&T will reportedly be offering the device on its network.

During an investor meeting in New York this week, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs briefly showed investors a photo of the device, which Jacobs said would debut at the 2010 Computer Electronics Show (CES). Several technology blogs, including techticker, managed to capture a low-resolution photo of the device, which Jacobs claimed was "smaller than a Palm Pre smartphone. In June 2009 Qualcomm showcased an Asus Eee PC netbook powered by the Snapdragon processor, and the chip is currently used in smartphones such as the HTC HD2 and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. According to a report from PC World, Jacobs said the Lenovo smartbook features a large battery to help power the screen and "a Linux-based user interface that consisted of six large widgets, including ones for e-mail and Facebook."

In a separate announcement, Qualcomm said the first devices based on the MSM7x30 family of chipsets are expected to launch commercially before the end of 2010. The company said the chipsets, which includes the MSM7230 solution for HSPA+ networks and MSM7630 solution with multi-mode HSPA+/EV-DO Rev. B and SV-DO support, is designed around optimal data throughput and multimedia functionality. The 7x30 has the same Scorpion CPU as the Snapdragon QSD8x50 chipset. The 7x30 uses an 800 MHz to 1 GHz custom superscalar CPU based on the ARM v7 instruction set, designed run at low power while supporting features such as 720p high-definition video, 12-megapixel camera support, integrated GPS for location-based services and support for mobile operating systems, including Android, Windows Mobile, Brew Mobile Platform and Symbian.

"Qualcomm continues to focus on enabling the best possible mobile experiences and this new family of solutions brings an unmatched feature set to the smartphone segment," said Alex Katouzian, vice president of product management for Qualcomm CDMATechnologies. "As the demand for smartphones continues to grow, our innovative technology will enable Qualcomm's device manufacturing partners to deliver products with greater value than ever before."

The company said other features the chipset would be able to support included integrated 2D and 3D graphics GPUs (with support for OpenGL ES 2.0, and OpenVG 1.1 industry standard APIs), Dedicated low-power audio subsystem supporting 5.1 surround and support for package-on-package memory in order to help reduce board space, optimize power consumption and help improve responsive performance. The MSM7x30 family of chipsets is supported by the PM8058 power management integrated circuit and the QTR8600 RF subsystem with integrated Bluetooth and FM radio. The chipsets will also directly interface with Qualcomm's WCN1312 wirless local area network (WLAN)solution for 802.11 b/g/n and a.