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QUALCOMM Campaigns for 3G

Hoping to jumpstart U.S. sales of 3G mobile devices, QUALCOMM Thursday announced multiple advancements in the multi-media wireless technology.

The San Diego-based wireless giant said it has completed 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) UMTS- compliant third-generation to second-generation (3G-to-2G) handover calls in a lab environment using QUALCOMM user equipment and end-to-end 3GPP Wireless Data Network equipment from Nortel Networks .

The announcement is somewhat of a milestone in launching 3G networks since operators will need to support their current subscriber base on both GSM and UMTS to offer uninterrupted service as they transition to 3G.

The two companies also used their technology and hardware to demonstrate mobility across commercial cell sites using the 1900 MHz radio spectrum. The data reached speeds of up to 384 kilobits per second (kbps).

Nortel and QUALCOMM said the news is a boon for North American operators, who have spectrum available at 1900 MHZ but not at 2100 MHz. To date, U.S. and Canadian regulatory bodies have not indicated when or if 2100 spectrum - traditionally used for UMTS (or W-CDMA) service elsewhere in the world - would be made available in North America.

QUALCOMM also stumped for its Mobile Station Modem (MSM) family and said it has begun sample shipments of its MSM6100 chipset and system software and said it is gaining support for its for its MSM6200 chipset for PC Card modems.

The 3G CDMA2000 1X-configured multimedia package is the first MSM to be based on the powerful ARM926EJ- S microprocessor. The MSM6100 hardware also supports 3G EIA/TIA Interim Standard 2000 (IS-2000) Release A, and is backward compatible with IS-95A/B Release 0.

QUALCOMM said both chipsets with accompanying system software include its Launchpad suite of technologies, ones that allow for digital camera phones with support for JPEG compression and a dedicated camera module interface.

"This eliminates the need for a separate multimedia application processor in wireless devices," said QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies president Don Schrock. "Handsets equipped with the MSM6100 chipset will give consumers advanced multimedia capabilities, including in-phone cameras, video player/recorders and 3G graphics."

QUALCOMM's overall 3G push is critical considering recent surveys say the fate of the wireless Internet revolution may rest on the shoulders of consumers under age 25, and upscale users who will drive demand for 3G.

That should be good news for QUALCOMM since its Launchpad software gives mobile device makers the option of including streaming MPEG-4 video decoding at 15 frames per second. The software also allows for the creation of video-clip e-mail messages using the internal MPEG-4 encoder and camera module interface. In addition, Launchpad offers MP3 audio decoding, a 2D/3D graphics accelerator for advanced gaming applications, Compact Media Extension (CMX) PC-quality MIDI synthesizer, Bluetooth capability to enable wireless connectivity between digital devices, MMC removable storage capability for convenient storing of data such as MP3 music or digital maps, and an enhanced LCD interface.

Additional Launchpad options include QUALCOMM's gpsOne position-location technology and the VectorOne compass interface.

QUALCOMM also said it is gaining support The company said Samsung Electronics and Novatel Wireless have expressed high interest in the multimode, multiband wireless cards.

The modems are based on Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) mode of WCDMA - also known as Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) networks and are being designed for the emerging 3G markets in Europe and North America.

Novatel said its licensed version, called Merlin, is being jointly developed with Lucent Technologies under an agreement announced in August 2002.

"We found the Qualcomm solution to have a high degree of integration and, combined with its small footprint and low power consumption, believe it will provide the best development platform for low-cost, high-capacity wireless PC Card modems," said Novatel president and CTO Ambrose Tam.

Samsung said it will use the technology to make advanced WCDMA/GSM-GPRS handsets for its global customers.