qualcomm

Chris Nuttall

What’s next in personal computing after netbooks? The answer, it seems, depends very much on what directions the makers of microprocessors are taking.

If you were to ask Intel – at its Research Day this week - the answer would be Mids (mobile internet devices). AMD said in a briefing it was “thin and light” or “ultrathin”, while Freescale came up with some interesting-looking “smartbook” concept machines (pictured) at this month’s Computex trade show in Taiwan. Read more

  • Verizon Communications has held talks with Apple about selling versions of either the iPhone or other Apple devices in the US. Currently AT&T is the exclusive distributor of the iPhone in the US, and the company was reportedly trying to extend that deal for another year. A lucrative deal with Apple would be a coup for Verizon, which reported strong quarterly profits from its growing mobile business.
  • Qualcomm, the world’s biggest maker of chips for mobile phones, put an end to legal wrangling by settling a four-year patent dispute with rival Broadcom. Qualcomm has agreed to pay Broadcom $891m over four years in exchange for the dismissal of all court cases and Broadcom withdrawing its complaints about Qualcomm’s business practices.

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  • Cisco‘s open secret is a secret no more. After weeks of rumours speculating as much, the networking equipment powerhouse is entering the server market, posing a potential threat to IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Sun. Servers are lower-margin products, but analysts say Cisco will be able to charge more by offering bundled products.
  • Apple is unveiling new iPhone software on Tuesday. Watchers don’t expect multimedia text messaging, but other desired features, including copy and pasting and integrated contact books, seem likely. Don’t expect an appearance from Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who remains on medical leave, or the debut of Apple’s rumoured 10-inch touchscreen tablet.

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  • They’re still just rumours, but they’ve gotten stronger. A day after leaks from Taiwan suggested Apple might be preparing a touch-screen netbook, sources told Dow Jones Newswire that the new computers, which will be designed primarily for web browsing and mobile computing, will have touch-screens between 9.7 and 10-inches.
  • Google’s Gmail has suffered another outage, which it said had affected only a “subset of users”, but comes only two weeks after a major global crash of the service. Gmail’s increasing popularity was highlighted in a Hitwise blog post and charts that showed it overtaking YouTube.

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Chris Nuttall

Look out for a new range of lower-cost netbooks this year using Arm-based processors rather than Intel’s Atom chip…but don’t expect to see any of them running Windows.

Linux, yes, Google’s Android operating system, quite possibly, but Microsoft is not yet supporting the new devices, which is something of an irritation to Warren East, Arm chief executive. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Expect the debate over the future of wireless internet connectivity to become a little more heated over the next few days.

Next week is the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where announcements will emphasise the crossover and convergence in this area. Think 3G netbooks and wi-fi phones. Read more

Chris Nuttall

MediaFLO@CES, Las Vegas -The Digital TV Transition in the US on February 19  will not only produce sharper pictures in the living room but will also boost TV on mobile phones.

Qualcomm, which offers its MediaFLO TV service over cell phones, said this week that the turning off of the analogue TV signals would free up spectrum and allow an expansion of its network. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Lila Ibrahim and the new Classmate PC@CES, Las Vegas - Non-profit attempts to bring affordable computing to the developing world suffered a setback this week, while there were a couple of steps forward at the Consumer Electronics Show for commercial efforts.

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop Per Child, announced a 50 per cent cut in his team and pay cuts for the remaining 32 people. Read more