Qualcomm CEO: AT&T will launch first smartbook

AT&T Mobility will launch the first smartbook, a new device that Qualcomm has been pushing that will combine the always-on connection smartphones have with the larger display of a netbook. The device will be made by Lenovo and will run on Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset.

Qualcomm announced the device at its investor meeting in New York this morning, however the company did not provide any more details, including its price and availability, since the smartbook will be officially announced at the Consumer Electronics Show next year. The announcement also is another indication that AT&T is looking to expand beyond mobile phones, as it has already established itself as a strong supporter of wireless e-readers.

Qualcomm also said it is testing new multi-mode high-speed wireless chips, as it prepares to make further inroads in next-generation wireless technologies. In addition, company CEO Paul Jacobs said that the chip maker was aware that competition next year would be intense.

The company is currently testing the new chipsets with a wide range of companies, including Huawei, LG Electronics, Novatel Wireless, Sierra Wireless and ZTE. The chipsets are a dual-carrier HSPA+ and a multi-mode 3G/LTE chipset. Qualcomm said that the first commercial devices based on the new solutions will likely hit the market in the second half of 2010.

The creation and testing of next-generation chipsets is critical for operators that are looking to launch devices on HSPA+ and LTE networks. Verizon Wireless and other operators will begin deploying LTE next year, and T-Mobile USA is going to aggressively upgrade its network to HSPA+ technology.

Jacobs said he was aware that there will be intense competition both for chipsets for smartphones and for low-end phones. "We see 2010 as a battleground for marketshare," he said during a meeting with Wall Street Journal editors. "We're expecting price competition on the chipset side."

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article
- see this release
- see this other Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)

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