Dell, HP and Lenovo are to incorporate Qualcomm's Gobi chipset into their laptops later this year.
Gobi , which Qualcomm released in October 2007, is a chipset that allows travellers to connect to both High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and Evolution-Data Optimised (EV-DO) networks. Both are types of "super-3G", but are incompatible.
HSPA is used in Europe and much of the rest of the world, while EV-DO is used in North America and parts of Australasia.
The disparity between HSDPA and EV-DO networks has led to a situation where, despite data-roaming agreements between companies such as Vodafone (in the UK) and Verizon (in the US ), a subscriber to either operator is forced to switch datacards if travelling between the regions.
"The Gobi solution enables enterprise users and consumers with the freedom of being untethered from Wi-Fi hotspots and connecting to the internet using 'almost anywhere' cellular broadband connectivity," said Greg Raleigh, vice president of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, on Tuesday. "We are pleased that Dell will be [using] the flexibility and efficiency Gobi provides to meet the growing needs of mobile data users."
Ken Bond, Dell's director of wireless product management, said the move would allow the laptop manufacturer to address the needs of "customers [who] are demanding more freedom to compute the way they want, where they want".