Qualcomm goes global with Gobi

The embedded Gobi chipset could allow a notebook PC user to pick up a cellular data signal anywhere in the world

Qualcomm has released an embedded chipset for notebook computers which could make it easier to surf the internet in different parts of the world.

The Gobi chipset works on both HSPA (Super 3G) cellular data networks, as found across most of the world, and EV-DO networks, as found in parts of Australasia and North America. Therefore, someone using a Gobi-toting notebook would, for the first time, be able to pick up a cellular data signal in both the UK and South Korea.

"Gobi-enabled notebook computers with global mobile internet unify the most important wireless carrier network technologies deployed around the world," said Sanjay Jha, Qualcomm's chief operating officer and president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, on Wednesday. "We are leveraging Qualcomm's expertise in multi-mode wireless chipsets to bring unparalleled connectivity to notebook users, who can now be confident they can instantly access the internet without searching for a hotspot — today."

The PC manufacturer HP has come out in support of Gobi, with notebook strategy director Matt Wagner claiming on Wednesday that it would give notebook customers "enhanced international roaming and greater choice of mobile operator service".

Also singing the praises of the new technology are the UK operator Vodafone and the US operator Verizon. Despite being roaming partners, Vodafone runs an HSPA network and Verizon uses EV-DO — other US operators tend to offer HSPA compatibility — so Vodafone customers have until now had to switch data cards when travelling to the US.

Oliver Mauss, Vodafone's global director of business marketing, said on Wednesday that his company was meeting its customers' growing need for access to data services on the move. "This platform is an important step in making this technology even more accessible, and we are working closely with notebook OEMs to help them integrate this platform into their devices," he added.

Verizon's executive director of product management, Andrea Caldini, said Gobi would "[support Verizon's] mission to give customers the best wireless experience, whether in the US or abroad."