Qualcomm introduces EV-DO/HSPA chip for laptops

Hello readers. I've spent weeks scouring over the Internet for the latest commercial WiMAX equipment deals across the globe. The result is what I believe a useful resource that will keep you up to date on the latest plans of operators around the world. It's a running list, and I'm also relying on you to help me make sure I've included them all. Check out the list here. We posted this on Monday but the link didn't work.

Qualcomm made an interesting move yesterday, announcing the Gobi chip, a laptop chip designed to connect to the world's two dominant 3G standards--CDMA EV-DO and HSPA. It appears to be Qualcomm's competitive answer to the looming threat of WiMAX, a market Qualcomm has chosen to stay out of at this point. 

The chip is available now and is expected to be embedded in laptops by the second quarter 2008--about the same time Sprint rolls out a significant number of WiMAX markets. The chip already has the endorsement of Hewlett Packard, Vodafone Group and Verizon Wireless. It's certainly something HSPA operator Vodafone and partner EV-DO operator Verizon have been waiting for to help them bridge their disparate technologies.

The Gobi, which Qualcomm hasn't given too many details about yet, could very well change the mobile broadband market rather quickly and dramatically as it not only takes a shot at the lack of coverage WiMAX will have initially but also WiFi, since it eliminates the need to connect with various hotspots. Of course, operators such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have to make this competitive. Would they be willing to create roaming agreements? Would they offer more per-use rates that are competitive with WiFi hotspots? How about more aggressive pricing plans in general to compete with WiMAX?

The biggest impact could be on the enterprise market, which needs connectivity around the world. I could see a Wayport getting involved to manage those connections.--Lynnette