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Qualcomm Opens a Window to Video

Wireless giant Qualcomm has inked a licensing deal with Microsoft it claims will make it easier to play audio and video on its handsets.

The deal means handset manufacturers will be able to ship Qualcomm's new "Qtv" devices with Windows Media Audio and Video codecs beginning in the first quarter of 2005. Qualcomm's Qtv series includes its Launchpad-brand of hardware and software including advanced multimedia, connectivity, GPS technology, improved user interface and removable storage functions. Financial details of the pact were not disclosed.

The license includes Qualcomm's MSM6250, MSM6500 and MSM6550 Mobile Station Modem (MSM) wideband CDMA (WCDMA) and CDMA2000 1x EV-DO chipsets. The partnership also includes Qualcomm's single-chip MSM6100, MSM6225, and MSM6300 chipsets as well as its 3G enhanced versions such as its MSM6150, MSM6275, MSM6280, MSM6700 and MSM6800 integrated chipsets.

With the codecs in place, Qualcomm said consumers can play back and stream Windows Media Audio and Windows Media Video content on their wireless devices.

The announcement could be just the ticket for Microsoft, which has been looking for more entry points for its Windows Media format beyond the desktop. Currently, Microsoft claims to have penetration on more than 700 consumer electronics devices.

The agreement is also catching the eye of service providers like Verizon Wireless , which is launching its mobile broadband data service in 11 new cities on Monday. Verizon is also rolling out Iobi Home. The new call management service promises closer ties among the phone, Internet and PC.

"The goal of this agreement between Microsoft and QUALCOMM is that high-quality video on mobile phones will soon provide the streaming video experience consumers get with their high-speed wired connections at home," John Stratton, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless said in a statement.

Qualcomm said the agreement also encourages developers to drive market acceptance for wireless streaming audio and video content.

To that end, Qualcomm said the chipsets include access to its BREW platform and compatibility with the Java mobile runtime environment.

Earlier this month, Qualcomm raised its quarterly financial estimates and now estimates that it will ship between 38 million to 39 million cell phone chips before the end of the month.



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