updated 12:25 pm EST, Thu November 12, 2009
Possible Verizon iPhone candidates?
Qualcomm today updated its MDM family of cellular chipsets with some of the first anywhere to support dual, advanced 3G and 4G formats. The MSM7630 supports GSM, HSPA and HSPA+ standards but will also work on CDMA phone networks and support up to EVDO Revision B for 3G on those services. The addition would let a phone work on a CDMA carrier like Sprint or Verizon but still work with AT&T or T-Mobile and roam at speeds of up to 21Mbps on networks from Rogers, other international carriers, and eventually T-Mobile USA.
The processor will also share the same ARM7-based core as Qualcomm's fast Snapdragon processor and support modern smartphone speeds and features. Clock speeds should still hover between 800MHz and 1GHz and, combined with an integrated graphics core, supports 720p video decoding and encoding at up to 30 frames per second, OpenGL ES 2.0 for 3D rendering, 12-megapixel still photo processing and 5.1-channel surround sound. A GPS receiver is equally built-in.
Customers are already receiving test samples of the processor, which includes a single-mode GSM/HSPA+ MSM7230 chipset as part of its family. It's expected to reach shipping products before the end of 2010 and should be accompanied by MSM9200, a higher-end hybrid chip that supports both HSPA+ as well as the LTE standard for future 4G service on most carriers worldwide.
The arrival of the MSM7630 coincides with rumors of a dual-mode iPhone that would use a Qualcomm chipset in place of existing Samsung and/or Infineon components and would let Apple offer the iPhone to Verizon without having to build a separate CDMA/EVDO edition. While Apple's acquisition of PA Semi should ultimately lead to custom-designed chipsets for iPhone-sized devices, the only rumors of a PA Semi-made device for 2010 have so far centered on a tablet and not a smartphone.