qualcomm

Although Qualcomm is sitting comfortably with Microsoft and Windows Phone, it looks like their monopoly on the OS has finally given in. Today, ST-Ericsson has announced a deal with Nokia to supply low-end chipsets for upcoming Windows Phones. The deal both confirms and contradicts and earlier report about Microsoft's plans, though it does reinforce earlier rumors of a Nokia-ST Ericsson alliance.

So far, Qualcomm's chipsets, while diverse and flexible in design, have only been used in "high end" phones. Microsoft and especially Nokia though have been keen on cracking the low end market found in developing/emerging countries and ST-Ericsson will reportedly help in that area. STMicro's shares were up 4% and Ericsson's was up by 2% as of the news. From ST-Ericsson:

"We are pleased to have been selected by Nokia as a key partner for Windows smartphones, in line with our goal to be present in all segments and major operating systems," said Gilles Delfassy, president and CEO of ST-Ericsson. "Our NovaThor platforms continue to gain traction as they enable customers to bring great smartphones to the market."

This is an early breaking story so we expect more details soon. The current Lumia devices (710 and 800) both use Qualcomm chipsets and that's expected to stay the same.

Source: Reuters; Finanz Nachrichten; Specs of the U8500 chipset after the break

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Bloomberg just ran an interesting story interviewing President of the Windows Phone division Andy Lees, who's been making the press round lately.

The gist of the interview focuses on how it used to cost $400 to produce a Windows Phone back in 2010, but for this next generation of devices, production costs for OEMs are down to about $220. The goal though is to lower that even further to below $200, which will allow Microsoft to essentially flood the market with devices ranging from low-end (where Android dominates) to high-end (where the iPhone and other Android phones take the lead).

Something we haven't heard about though is that there is a tiered licensing based on cost of production for the OEM. The cheaper it is for them to make a phone, the less they have to pay Microsoft. So even though Redmond would be making less per device, the aim is have more devices to make up the difference.

The other real interesting tidbit is the acknowledgment that Qualcomm is the only semiconductor partner Microsoft is working with for Windows Phone:

Microsoft works exclusively with Qualcomm to develop chips that power handsets using its system, allowing it to specify technical details to ensure devices run more smoothly, the executive said.

There is currently no plan to work with other semiconductor makers for Windows Phone 7 devices, he said.

That contradicts earlier information about Nokia working with ST-Ericsson for dual-core CPUs. Indeed, even Qualcomm is on board with Nokia these days. While this doesn't rule out other semiconductors such as Samsung's own Hummingbird, it looks like Qualcomm has a favorable position with Windows Phone for the near future.

Thanks, TheWeeBear, for the heads up!

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In Istanbul, Turkey at Qualcomm Inovation 2011, Qualcomm released information about upcoming Snapdragon architecture Krait , which will feature full support for Windows 8. Leading the way in the smartphone market (and dominating Windows Phone 7), Cristiano Amon, vice president of product development at QCT (Qualcomm CMDA TECHNOLGIES), said the following about Windows Phone 8:

"When we go to the Windows Phone 8, we can with the fact that we again work with them [Microsoft] and our work position speed look forward to probably be the first to market with a Windows Phone 8 platform."

While we're aware that Microsoft wishes to bring their ecosystem closer together, this is promising news that hardware manufacturers and chip brains are working harder at bringing the next-gen tech to Windows Phone.

Source: NordicHardware

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In an interesting story over at the Inquirer, Raj Talluri, VP of product management at Qualcomm revealed that they were never exclusive to Microsoft or Windows Phone, that in fact there was and still is not a written agreement between them and Redmond.

At least with regards to the first generation of Windows Phone, Qualcomm was thought to be an exclusive partner with Microsoft. As it turns out, they are certainly a valued partner but there was no reason for companies to use other, competing platforms like Broadcom, nVidia or Texas Instruments. Even the Focus and Omnia 7 eschew Samsung's own processor for Qualcomm's. That for us raises the question as to why? One reason is we know Qualcomm had ported and worked on WP7 for a long time and perhaps their processing solutions were just a better value for OEMs. From back in March:

“We stepped out some time ago with a major investment in high level operating system and porting to Microsoft was one of those. So we’re the first to port the Win Mobile 7 and I think we’re the only chip set provider yet today. That was a good year effort of hard work for us to get to that point.”

Will the second generation of Windows Phone devices be any different? We've heard of ST-Ericcson stepping into the picture, but nothing concrete yet. Even Nokia is using Qualcomm now. What about you? Are you happy with Qualcomm or are you looking for some alternatives from other vendors?

Source: the Inquirer; via Windows Phone Daily

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We're not going to recapitulate the whole torrid history of Nokia and Qualcomm, we'll just say that the two have buried the hatchet and moved on.

As a sign of perhaps good faith, we noticed (and wondered) what the "Q" logo was during the Sea Ray's boot sequence (0:46). MonSmartphone was sharp enough to make the connection that it's Qualcomm's "Q" meaning that indeed, Nokia and specifically the "Sea Ray" will be sporting some of Q's silicon under the hood. While not ground breaking, we'll file this under: interesting.

[Side note: Had you told us five years ago about a Nokia device running a Microsoft OS and using a Qualcomm processor...well, we would have said some funny things about you. Times are a changin'!]

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Well, it's just a matter of time before our Windows Phones get a dual-core processor, right? Currently, we have just single-core, up to 1GHz CPUs on our phones, but Qualcomm looks to change that with their MSM8x60 chipset.

This info comes by way of Qualcomm's own site which lists Windows Phone as a supported OS (they need special drivers to interact with the chipset, see Qualcomm's discussion here). What makes all of this interesting is we know that the Qualcomm MSM7X30 and MSM8X55 chipsets have been approved for the Windows Phone chassis specifications, but this is the first we're hearing of a dual-core MSM8x60 chipset and Windows Phone mentioned together.

We should note though that just because it supports Windows Phone doesn't mean it's a chassis option, at leastd for right now. But it does show that evidently, a lot of the leg-work is already done in porting the chipset to our OS.

The MSM8x60, is currently featured in the new HTC EVO 3D and features a strong arsenal of technology, including:

  • Dual Scorpion-cores up to 1.5GHz
  • Adreno 220 GPU
  • 1080P video and playback
  • HDMI mirroring
  • Dolby 5.1
  • 3D capturing and playback
  • 16MP dual-camera support

Sounds good to us, now hopefully we can see some phones this fall, rocking some Mango with this bad boy on board.

Source: Qualcomm; via MonSmartphone

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9

Stephen Elop on WP7 at Uplinq 2011

We've recently been following (from a distance of course) Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, to find out as much as possible with the Microkia partnership, and how this could affect both users of Windows Phone 7 and Symbian. We've already covered how Nokia are looking to take a customised approach to WP7, add some features for both carriers and users, while bringing specialised hardware to the table in Q4. Stephen was at Uplinq 2011 and was talking about how Nokia have a focus on WP7 as opposed to other OEMs.

We must first get the news out in the open that Nokia will be working closely with Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson on their upcoming handsets (no plans have been scrapped yet), which we covered a while ago when the CEO of ST-Ericsson, Carlo Bozotti, spilled some beans that they would be one of two chipset suppliers for Nokia. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and how Nokia plans to out-do other OEMs with their "focus". 

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More interesting news on the Nokia front, along with Qualcomm. While both companies have a history in having a somewhat distant relationship, it seems they are really starting to come together, especially with Nokia's entry into Windows Phone 7.5 being just around the corner. The CEO of Nokia, Stephon Elop, will be keynoting at Qualcomm's Uplinq 2011 conference on June 2nd in San Diego.

Brilliant news for the Qualcomm and Nokia partnership, should the handset giant make a positive re-entrance into the competition under Microsoft's flag, since Qualcomm see promise with the handset manufacturer. Along with Nokia, HP and HTC are to be present at the conference.

Source: Qualcomm, via: MobileTechWorld

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Back to MIX, Istvan Cseri (Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft) revealed the new Windows Phone 7 chassis that OEM's can use to build handsets which is to be released in the coming months.

Observing the image above, we can see the Qualcomm MSM7X30 and MSM8X55 (800MHz) are included in the platform requirements and both feature the Adreno 205 GPU. Gyroscope sensor addition is optional and manufactures will be able to use multiple combinations of memory, gyroscope support and SoC as long as they don't go below current specification requirements. Screen resolution is kept at 800x480 (WVGA). Watch the presentation after the break.

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According to Qualcomm, the Nokia Windows Phone might pay off nicely for the chip maker. Speaking at a technology conference, Qualcomm CFO Bill Keitel noted that Qualcomm is the only chip player qualified for Windows Phone 7 right now and while the company “took some lumps” for dedicating research and development to WP7, they see the Nokia deal could be promising.

“We stepped out some time ago with a major investment in high level operating system and porting to Microsoft was one of those. So we’re the first to port the Win Mobile 7 and I think we’re the only chip set provider yet today. That was a good year effort of hard work for us to get to that point. So you know, we’re hoping Nokia and Microsoft will go fast here and we’re ready to support them.”

Qualcomm had been investing 22-23% of revenues towards R&D will all mobile operating systems. This has since been scaled down to 17% of revenues, part of which included no longer dedicating a team to Symbian research. Keitel sees the investment in Windows Phone paying off big time as Nokia increases their Windows Phone volume.

Source: ZDNet

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The Nokia-Microsoft partnership is still dominating headlines this morning as more information keeps coming out. Evidently, during negotiations with Microsoft, one of the critical issues Nokia was focused on was reaching "a very low price point", according to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, this position was agreed upon:

"We have become convinced that we can do that very quickly"

As we mentioned earlier, Nokia produces nearly 1 million phones a day due to their huge infrastructure and production lines. With Microsoft tapping into that, it seems easier for them to lower prices on phones to the carriers--something that smaller OEMs might not be able to match. Either way, consumers look to win.

One method of doing this is going beyond Qualcomm for their chipsets. Qualcomm was named by Microsoft as their primary chip provider for Windows Phone, but now we're getting news that Microsoft is looking beyond the company for other alternatives (NVIDIA , Texas Instruments, ST-Ericsson and Ericsson come to mind). That should be especially good for Nokia who have had a rocky relationship with Qualcomm, with the latter owning the CDMA market (even though both agreed to work together last year).

Looks like there will be lots of changes to the Windows Phone landscape come late 2011 as fallout form the Nokia partnership continues.

Source: Reuters, the Inquirer.net; additional info: IntoMobile

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Over at Gamasutra, they had an nice interview with Kevin Unangst, Microsoft's senior director of PC and mobile gaming, and Brian Seitz, senior marketing manager for Windows Phone 7.

The topic was gaming and there were a few interesting bits of information, the first found in this blog's headline:

We're partnering really closely with Qualcomm so they're going to be the chip of choice... It will be a good experience with developers," says Brian Seitz, senior marketing manager for Windows Phone 7.

Some much for nVidia's Tegra2 or ARM Cortex A8 /"Hummingbird", eh?

Other things which we're sort of already knew:

  • Two tiers for games: more professional Xbox Live Arcade and regular Marketplace games; the former is exceptional quality with high standards, the latter anyone can develop on. This also means you won't need an XBLA account to play all games on WP7
  • Microsoft helps set the prices for games; trying to avoid 'race to the bottom' for pricing to protect developer's interests
  • Tiered pricing for games, like the Xbox console
  • ...it's just the beginning of what we're going to do with multiplayer."
  • "...this can be a great alternative to the DS and PSP, as much as we think [it can be to] the iPhone and the Droid"

Interesting stuff, though we're a little uneasy with the Qualcomm thing as..well, lets not bring up the past. We're curious to see if any hardware vendor will use non-Qualcomm chipsets, guess we'll have to wait and see.

Read more here.

 

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Not only is the HTC HD2 large in stature — we're still knocked over by that 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen — it's got game under the hood. Benchmark tests of the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor reportedly clocked in at at least a 300 percent improvement over the Touch HD and its Qualcomm MSM7201 processor running at 528MHz. And another test showed an improvement of 1,822 percent. Between this and Nvidia's Tegra processor, the future is now, people. The future is now.

wmpoweruser (currently down) via Engadget Mobile

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We've talked about the differences between aGPS and GPS before, but we can now add another form of aGPS to the bunch: QuickGPS

QuickGPS is from Qualcomm (technically called gpsOneXTRA Assistance) and is an Internet-based form of aGPS or offline aGPS whereby your device, once a week, downloads a data file that has all the ephemeris data contained (file = packedephemeris.ee).  This data is good for 7 days and helps calculate your position faster without the need for an Internet connection at the moment of initiation (ala network-based aGPS).  "Cold starts" go from a minute or more to just seconds. Very cool.

HTC has been incorporating this into some of its devices lately (e.g. Touch Pro) and Palm has it on the GSM Treo Pro.  HTC calls it QuickGPS as it made a nice app to initiate the system (see above photo). 

But as usual, some of us were not invited to the party (e.g. Sprint Mogul, Touch, etc.) and the community has effectively taken matters into their own hands, hacking this onto various devices.  The latest is the Sprint/Alltel Treo Pro and we have to admit, it works like a charm. 

So if you want to join in and speed up your GPS system, feel free to browse those threads!  And remember: back up before you do so!  This also may not work on all devices--if you get "QuickGPS.exe' cannot be opened. Either it is not signed with a trusted certificate, or one of its components cannot be found. If the problem persists, try reinstalling or restoring this file." that would be you, sorry.

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Once upon a time there were two processor manufactuers: Qualcomm and Broadcom. Qualcomm made some chips that looked a little too much like Broadcom's and the two stopped being BFFs, making everyone sad. In fact, Broadcom was so upset, it took Qualcomm to court and accused it of patent infringement.

This went on in and out of weeks and almost over three years. At one point, a mean ol' federal judge said Qualcomm couldn't sell its processors anymore, but the cagey lawyers found a way around that, and another judge said a ban just wasn't fair, and some of your favorite smartphones continue to be powered by Qualcomm.

Fast forward to today, and everyone's kissed and made up. OK, being paid $891 million would make me kiss and make up with just about anyone, too. And that's just what's been done, with the two manufacturers finally reaching an agreement in the case and agreeing to put down their swords, says Engadget. Full deets after the jump, but we're going to spend the rest of the afternoon coming to terms with the fact that it's over. It's really over.

For now.

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Having to live with Qualcomm's MSM series of chipsets for so long, it's nice to see the next-gen series (Snapdragon) finally strut its stuff. To refresh your memory, basically these systems are running 1ghz processors, can do HD graphics (720p), "day-long battery life" and have more advanced GPS and wireless connetivity (read more here)

Though we've seen it running that ho-hum custom Today screen on the Toshiba TG01, it seems that at MWC a few weeks ago a much more in-depth graphics demo was given.  We have to say, it's looking very promising so far.

Basically, from a non-technical perspective, it looks like we'll be having Sony PSP-level graphics on our super-thin (10mm) WinMo phones in late 2009/2010, which we're really stoked about. Advanced lighting, shading & translucency? Yes please.

Check out the 3 min demonstration of Qualcomm's Snapdragon after the jump! You don't wanna miss.

Mobilna Technologia [via]

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While there have been rumblings that HTC and Qualcomm aren't quite the BFFs they used to be, Digitimes is reporting [via] that HTC is going to stick with the chipmaker at least long enough to push out a device sporting the snappy Snapdragon processor. The Snapdragon, as you may recall, is probably the most exciting thing about that Toshiba TG01 -- because as we said yesterday during the podcast, the custom interface leaves much to be desired. Also, that TG01 may not even make it to the states anyway.

Back to HTC, the device is apparently set for the 2nd quarter of 2009, which means it's anybody's guess as to whether or not they'll deign to show it off at MWC09. Also anybody's guess, which device in the massive HTC 2009 line-up leak we're looking at here. We figure it could actually be more than one, but a proc like the Snapdragon would be a good fit for a media-centric device like the above-pictured Whitestone W

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What do you do when you're one of the biggest GSM chip makers out there and one of your sweethearts -- HTC in this case -- starts looking elsewhere (say, nVidia)? Well you you throw on the old spice cologne, get a hair cut, and start acquiring AMD's graphics and multimedia technology assets to improve what you've got.

Qualcomm is hoping this move will provide better 2D and 3D graphics features, as well as better audio/video and display support. This drastic make over wasn't cheap.  Qualcomm is dishing out $65 million to AMD for these assets and offering employment  to AMD employees that were involved in the new technologies. We were starting to suspect that Qualcomm was letting itself go (so to speak), so hopefully laying out this cash  for the proverbial face lift and gym membership will get 'em back in shape.

[via phonescoop]

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What'd we tell you earlier? Stay Tuned, right? Here's what's for: the WMExperts Podcast! Here's the deal: we'll be on every week, usually on Thursdays. We'll alternate every week between a short, 5-minute device focus / review (next week: Sprint Touch) and a longer, news and tips-focused podcast. The shorter podcasts will be hosted by Dieter Bohn, the longer ones will feature Malatasta (and also some guests, later on, if they'll lower themselves to talk to us).

Alright, so how do you get the sucker?

Be sure to email us -- podcast@wmexperts.com -- we want to talk about what you want to hear about.

What's the news on this podcast? Read on for the show notes

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2

Samsung to Develop Own LTE and WiMAX Chips

Samsung apparently isn't fond of dealing with Qualcomm's patent hassles anymore, or perhaps they've been spooked by how difficult it is to write video drivers for Qualcomm's chipsets, or perhaps they just don't like Qualcomm's LTE roadmap, or maybe it's just the stated reason from EETimes [via mobile burn]: they're unhappy with how much the royalties cost.

Whatever the reason, it looks like Samsung is going it alone for the chips that power their phone, opting to develop them in-house instead of using Qualcomm or Broadcom chips. It also appears that LG may follow suit.

While we're generally happy to see more competition, we do have a bit of a concern about compatibility and standards here. Sure, Samsung will likely drive down costs and speed up development of their handsets with this move. We just hope that Samsung, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Infineon, and the other players in this 4G chips space can agree on some common standards that will make life easier for other shops that can't make their own chips and also easier for carriers to approve handsets more quickly. The last thing we want is redux of the all-out patent war we have been witnessing with the 3G chipsets.

What say you? Smart move by Samsung?

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