Qualcomm pushes chip it says will solve LTE fragmentation

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) unveiled a new chipset solution that it argues will help device makers worldwide overcome issues related LTE spectrum fragmentation by providing them with a multimode LTE design. 

The new solution, dubbed the RF360 Front End Solution, is actually a whole family of chips designed to mitigate LTE band fragmentation while improving RF performance and helping device makers develop multiband, multimode mobile devices supporting all seven cellular modes, including FDD-LTE, TD-LTE, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE.

While many carriers around the world are moving to LTE as a single standard for next-generation networks, there are 40 different LTE bands based on a variety of spectrum frequencies. This makes it difficult for handset and tablet makers to design devices that can work on multiple LTE networks--say, 700 MHz in the United States and 1800 MHz networks in Europe. Qualcomm said the new solution will let OEMs design a region-specific LTE solution or go broader if they need to add LTE global roaming support.

In addition to the LTE solution, Qualcomm also announced its new Snapdragon 400 and 200 chipset lines, targeted at mid-tier and low-end smartphones. In January Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 800 and 600 lines for higher-end devices. Qualcomm also revealed a new Snapdragon-related charging technology, Quick Charge 2.0, which promises to cut mobile device charging times by as much as 75 percent versus regular power systems.

Meanwhile, rival Nvidia announced it will partner with Chinese vendor ZTE to deliver the first smartphones powered by Nvidia's new Tegra 4 processor, with the first models reaching the market before mid-year. ZTE said it has a long-term strategic partnership with Nvidia and expects to launch the first Tegra 4 phones in China in the first half of this year. ZTE said it is also planning to use Nvidia's standalone i500 LTE modem.

Earlier this week Nvidia announced that its first chipset integrating LTE modem technology and its Tegra application processor into a single piece of silicon, the Tegra 4i, as part of an effort to catch up to Qualcomm and others like Broadcom and MediaTek in the cellular baseband market.

Like Nvidia's previous high-powered mobile chipset, Tegra 3, the Tegra 4 chip is a quad-core processor with a fifth companion core. However, the design is based on a new chipset architecture, and uses ARM Holdings Coretex A-15 CPU cores to deliver faster performance than the Tegra 3, which used Coretex A-9 CPUs. The chipset also uses 72 Nvidia GPU cores for graphics.

For more:
- see this Qualcomm release
- see this Qualcomm post
- see this Engadget article
- see this separate Engadget article
- see this Nvidia/ZTE release
- see this CNET article

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