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Qualcomm’s updated 3G chipset coming to ThinkPads

The multimode 3G platform adds support for more radio bands and Assisted GPS

Lenovo will offer Qualcomm’s latest Gobi multimode 3G (third-generation) mobile data chipset on ThinkPad laptops, allowing users to connect to the world’s two major types of 3G networks and use assisted GPS for location-based services.

Gobi, which hit the market last year, includes both HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) and EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) technology in one chipset, along with GPS (Global Positioning System) capability. Gobi2000, the second generation of the platform, supports additional frequencies as well as AGPS (Assisted GPS). AGPS uses the cellular network to extend the coverage of GPS indoors and to areas blocked from the sky, such as city streets with many tall buildings.

Because the Gobi chipset can work with both HSPA and EV-DO networks, as well as other flavors of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access), it can work with most of the world’s mobile data services. 4G technologies such as WiMax and LTE (Long-Term Evolution), and the Chinese-developed TD-SCDMA (Time-Division Synchronous CDMA) system are not included today. With both major network types in one chip, users don’t need multiple PCs or cards to stay connected around the world and IT departments are better able to standardize on one laptop model.

Gobi1000 was built to work on nine commonly used frequency bands, and Gobi2000 adds support for HSPA on 800MHz and 900MHz. In addition to AGPS, the new chipset includes gpsOneXTRA, a Qualcomm technology for improving GPS performance where the operator isn’t yet equipped for AGPS.

Gobi2000 will be offered on ThinkPad X, T and W Series laptops beginning next year. Lenovo already offers the first-generation Gobi1000 in the ThinkPad X200, T400, T500 and W500 systems. Hewlett-Packard has also said it will use Gobi2000, and several other manufacturers plan to offer it, according to Qualcomm.