Qualcomm unveils dual 3G chip for laptops

Qualcomm launched a chip that will make it easier to build laptops compatible with the two dominant cellular broadband technologies in the US, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said currently, business-oriented laptops are generally available with chips for either AT&T's, Verizon Wireless' or Sprint Nextel's networks. AT&T's network uses a technology called HSPA while Sprint and Verizon Wireless use EV-DO.

Both network technologies are also being rolled out overseas, with HSDPA being the dominant choice, the report said.

The Associated Press report further said Qualcomm's new Gobi chip can connect to either type of network, which should make it easier for laptop users to shop around for the carrier that has the best coverage and prices in their area.

The chips are available immediately, and Qualcomm expects them to appear in laptops in the second quarter of next year, the report said.

The chips may increase the choices for cellular broadband users, but those networks are competing not just with each other but with WiMAX, another long-range wireless technology that promises higher data speeds on a network that's cheaper to build. Qualcomm's chip does not support WiMAX, the report said.