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Qualcomm shows off new reference designs

Claims 170 wins for its QRD program, targeted at MediaTek's heartland among mass market smartphone makers

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 22 January, 2013

READ MORE: China | Qualcomm | Reference Design | Handset

Integration of the modem and the applications processor is important to lowering the cost and power consumption of mobile devices. Qualcomm, the king of integrated chipsets, says devices based on its quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, with the baseband incorporated, will be unveiled later this month.

However, built-in LTE remains in short supply among chipmakers for now. Qualcomm is focusing on the mass market with this announcement, holding a QRD (Qualcomm Reference Design) Summit in Shenzhen, China this Wednesday. This will aim to hit back at local giant MediaTek's moves to expand its smartphone system-on-chip base at the expense of its US rival. The QRD provides full platforms with tools and pre-tested components, to reduce cost and time-to-market for carriers and handset makers. As such, it targets the heartland of MediaTek's business, as the Taiwanese firm starts to move up from its featurphone base.


The QRD program covers various Qualcomm products but key to this week's event are expected to be devices based on the quad-core Snapdragon S4 Play, which was launched last September to target low end smartphones and tablets. It supports integrated CDMA and HSPA modems, but not 4G as yet.

The US chip giant says QRD now supports more than 170 devices, plus more than 100 designs in progress, and some of these support the TD-LTE, the key Chinese 4G standard. The Summit will feature over 40 hardware and software suppliers demonstrating their use of the reference designs to simplify high volume smartphone development, said Qualcomm. Among the featured partners will be China Mobile, Tianyu, Little Chilli, Yulong and Tencent.

The company plans to introduce a new online hub for QRD manufacturers to enable them to receive a custom device software package tailored to their unique specifications, quickly and easily.

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