Chip maker Qualcomm today introduced three new Gobi modem chipsets at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain and an improved version of the Snapdragon S4 chip for high-end smartphones. The 28-nanometer third-generation MDM8225, MDM9225 and MDM9625 support both LTE-Advanced and dual-carrier 84Mbps HSPA+ Release 10 cellular networks (perhaps fitting in T-Mobile USA’s 2012 plan). If that’s not speedy enough: The MDM9225 and MDM9625 can go all the way up to 150Mbps, because they support LTE Category 4 with carrier aggregation technology.

All three pieces of silicon are backwards compatible with today’s popular standards, including EV-DO Advanced, GSM, TD-SCDMA, FDD and TDD. The MDM8225 chipset supports UMTS-only devices, the MDM9225 chipset supports LTE and UMTS devices, and the MDM9625 chipset supports LTE, UMTS and CDMA2000 devices. All three chipsets will begin sampling in Q4 2012. Compared to Qualcomm’s previous MDM9x15 series (see below the fold), the new chips offer a reduction in power consumption and overall board area that allow for smaller devices with longer battery life.

Qualcomm also launched today an improved version of the Snapdragon S4 system-on-a-chip that powers about 340 mobile devices. It has notably faster graphics, supports Windows 8, includes dedicated hardware to accelerate Windows and fully supports the top game engines in the industry from Unity, Epic and others.

More on the new Snapdragon S4 “Pro” chip and full press releases are after the break.

Dubbed the “Snapdragon S4 Pro,” it builds on the success the “regular” (but speedy) dual-core Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 found inside the HTC One X/S and the just-announced Padfone by Asus. The Pro version of Snapdragon S4 sports Adreno 320 graphics, which is a souped up version of Adreno 225 graphics found inside the regular MSM8960 chip. The Adreno 320 GPU support higher-resolution displays, delivers four times performance improvement, and introduces new APIs for 3D graphics, Open CL and more. Qualcomm said the Adreno 320 also includes dedicated hardware to accelerate Windows and fully supports the top game engines in the industry from Unity, Epic, and others. The new Snapdragon S4 Pro is expected to hit the market in the second half of 2012.

As for Qualcomm’s previous-generation MDM9x15 modem chips (the MDM9615 and MDM9215) mentioned above the fold, Qualcomm somewhat surprisingly hyped these last week. Although, it first announced the MDM9615 and MDM9215 a year ago. Both these products are fabbed on the 28-nanometer process allowing for lower power consumption. The two solutions support voice, TD-SCDMA, TD-LTE, LTE on FDD and TDD networks worldwide, have embedded GPS capability, and are backwards compatible with HSPA+ and EV-DO. Both the MDM9615 and MDM9215—in addition to the trio of modem chips announced at MWC today—connect to the faster LTE network locally and stay connected to the Internet globally on 3G networks worldwide.

Here are the press releases:

Qualcomm Third Generation LTE Chipsets Are First to Support HSPA+ Release 10, LTE Advanced with LTE Carrier Aggregation

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its next generation Gobi modem chipsets, the MDM8225, MDM9225 and MDM9625 chipsets, will begin sampling in Q4 2012 and will be the first to support both HSPA+ Release 10 and the next-generation of the LTE mobile broadband standard, LTE Advanced. The MDM9225 and MDM9625 chipsets are also the first to support LTE carrier aggregation and true LTE Category 4 with data rates of up to 150 Mbps and give network operators increased broadband speeds across their LTE service areas. Implemented in a 28nm manufacturing process, the chipsets will feature significant improvements in performance and power consumption from previous generations and provide support for multiple mobile broadband technologies to deliver a best-in-class mobile broadband experience for smartphones, tablets, ultra-portable notebooks, portable hotspots, dongles and CPEs (Customer Premises Equipment).

LTE carrier aggregation is an important technology that combines multiple radio channels within and across bands to increase user data rates, reduce latency and enable Category 4 capabilities for operators without 20 MHz of continuous spectrum. The MDM9225 and MDM9625 chipsets are the only mobile broadband chipsets currently supporting carrier aggregation that allow OEMs to build devices that can take full advantage of LTE Advanced networks.

The MDM9225 and MDM9625 chipsets are Qualcomm’s third generation of LTE modem chipsets. In addition to supporting both LTE Advanced (LTE Release 10) and HSPA+ Release 10 (including 84 Mbps dual carrier HSDPA), they are backward compatible with other standards including EV-DO Advanced, TD-SCDMA and GSM. The chipsets contain the industry’s only modems to integrate 7 different radio access modes on a single baseband chip: cdma2000 (1X, DO), GSM/EDGE, UMTS (WCDMA, TD-SCDMA) and LTE (both LTE-FDD and LTE-TDD). This will allow OEMS to design mobile devices that can operate on the increasingly diverse set of radio network deployments and configurations used worldwide.

“Our newest generation of Gobi modem chipsets will allow mobile device OEMs to design products that can operate on nearly any mobile broadband network worldwide,” said Cristiano Amon, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm. “In addition to supporting the latest mobile broadband technologies, these chipsets improve over Qualcomm’s previous 7-mode 28nm LTE chipsets (MDM9x15) by offering a reduction in power consumption and overall board area, enabling OEMs to design smaller, sleeker devices with longer battery life.”

The third-generation Gobi modem chipsets also have an integrated application processor and hardware accelerators with a feature rich, Linux-based application development environment and optional mobile access point software stack. Customers can differentiate their MDM8225/9×25 chipset based devices by using the application development environment to create value-added applications. When paired with the Qualcomm Atheros AR6003 or AR6004 chipsets, the mobile access point software stack enables customers to design high performance, low power portable and fixed 802.11n routers. These routers would deliver up to 150 Mbps data connections to Wi-Fi-capable devices.

The MDM8225 chipset supports UMTS only devices, the MDM9225 chipset supports LTE and UMTS devices and the MDM9625 chipset supports LTE, UMTS and CDMA2000 devices. All three chipsets are expected to begin sampling in Q4 2012.

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon S4 “Pro” Processor

— Pro Version Builds on Success of First Snapdragon S4 Processor For Even Greater Mobile Computing Possibilities —

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) announced today that the Company will offer a Pro version of the Snapdragon™ S4 MSM8960 processor to enable even more capable mobile computing devices. The successful Snapdragon S4 class, which has more than 120 OEM designs in development, is already raising the bar on performance and industry benchmarking, as reported in recent product reviews.

The S4 Pro processor features the Adreno 320 GPU, support for higher resolution displays, as well as hardware and software compatibility with the S4 class. The Adreno 320 is a high performance programmable GPU—with up to a four times performance improvement—providing a superior user experience for Web browsing, games, user interfaces and other graphics applications. The Adreno 320 also infuses the S4 Pro version with new multimedia capabilities, including computational camera—the ability to tap directly into the computational capability of the Adreno 320 GPU through new APIs like OpenCL, to enable next-generation use cases such as light-field cameras for mobile devices. In support of next-generation 3D graphics APIs, Adreno 320 will enable more realistic 3D graphic effects through hardware acceleration of advanced rendering features like instancing, occlusion queries and multiple render targets. Adreno 320 also includes dedicated hardware to accelerate Windows and fully supports the top game engines in the industry from Unity, Epic and others.

“As a result of strong customer demand for Snapdragon S4 processors, we’ve added a new Pro version of MSM8960 to continue delivering the highest performing mobile processors in the industry,” said Cristiano Amon, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm. “By delivering the S4 Pro processor in 2012, we are fulfilling our promise that Snapdragon processors will remain the industry’s barometer for excellence in mobile computing while helping our customers bring the most innovative smartphones and tablets to market.”

The S4 Pro version of MSM8960 is optimized for the most advanced operating systems, including the highly anticipated Windows 8 system.

“Snapdragon S4 and S4 Pro are designed to enable tablets and notebook devices to deliver the high performance, flexibility, global 3G/4G connectivity and energy efficiency consumers are increasingly demanding,” said Luis Pineda, senior vice president of computing and consumer products, Qualcomm. “We are excited about the Snapdragon S4 Pro processors’ potential for consumers, and about the upcoming Windows 8 platform.”

The S4 Pro processors are expected to come to market in the second half of 2012. Currently, there are more than 340 Snapdragon-based devices commercially available and more than 400 in development. To see which devices on the market today feature Snapdragon processors, visit http://www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon/devices or test-drive the latest Snapdragon-powered devices by visiting Qualcomm’s exhibit (Fira Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 8, Qualcomm Booth #8B53) at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 27-March 1, 2012.

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