Chipmaker Qualcomm has announced the Gobi 4000, its first integrated chipset that supports LTE and various 3G flavours such as HSPA+, dual-carrier HSPA+, CDMA2000, and 1xEV-DO Rev A and B. The chipset package, which consists of the MDM9600 and MDM9200 chips, is the first integrated 3G/LTE chipset available from Qualcomm, which should bring the increasing efficiency and improved packaging that has prevented Apple from introducing LTE into the iPhone 4GS.
Apple uses Qualcomm previous generation chips for the baseband of its current iPhones and the 3G enabled iPads, making it likely that the new chips will provide a straight upgrade path to an LTE capable iPhone 5 and iPad 3.
According to Cristiano Amon, senior vice president of product management for Qualcomm, the Gobi 4000 chipset will offer, “an uncompromised mobile connectivity experience, both in terms of download speeds and flexibility.” The company said that Gobi 4000-based modules are now available from Novatel Wireless and Sierra Wireless.
While there are many LTE enabled handsets on the market, these involve using a separate 3G and LTE chipsets, which results in an poor battery life, a fact recently criticised by Tommy Ljunggren, head of system development at TeliaSonera in an interview with Telecoms.com, who described them as, “basically a dongle and phone that they glue together. They work – just not for long.”
Ljunggren also said that LTE in the iPhone 5 would be was essential if Apple was to maintain its market share. “It will be a bad mistake not to include LTE in the iPhone 5, as otherwise they will really be run over by the others.”