Dell Laptops To Offer Qualcomm Gobi Mobile Broadband


According to Dell, the company's next-generation laptops will be imbedded with Qualcomm's new Gobi mobile broadband technology, which lets notebook manufacturers ship Gobi-equipped notebooks in all global distribution channels to deliver roaming and connectivity capabilities across worldwide networks.

Greg Raleigh, Qualcomm's vice president of wireless connectivity, said Gobi technology lets U.S.-based users connect their laptops via EV-DO carrier networks such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint, and also connect via HSPA carrier networks, like Vodafone's European network. Raleigh said Gobi enables notebooks to utilize both types of networks as opposed to using two different mobile broadband cards for connectivity to different types of carrier networks.

Dell said Tuesday that its next-generation laptops, which will be available this year, will support a single-card 3G network connection through Qualcomm's Gobi. The software-configurable technology enables high-speed data connectivity on both UMTS and CDMA networks, and allows users to switch between network carriers. The built-in Gobi solution will be available in various Dell models, including the Latitude, Precision and other models.

While Dell has just announced Gobi-enabled notebooks, Raleigh said other manufactures like Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Panasonic already offer the technology. He added that two more manufacturers are in the process of being added to the Gobi OEM lineup. Qualcomm also offers a streamlined notebook certification and integration program designed to speed up the certification process for operators.

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Along with Dell offering Gobi technology, Qualcomm on Tuesday also announced that T-Mobile International has certified the use of Gobi, meaning Gobi-enabled notebooks can deliver GPS functionality and cellular broadband connectivity on HSPA networks on T-Mobile networks.

Raleigh said imbedding wireless connectivity capabilities into notebooks for use on various carrier networks helps VARs and distributors avoid having to stock notebooks with various wireless card configurations. Since one device can unify several different networks, one notebook can be shipped anywhere in the world and still connect.

"You don't have to change notebooks to change carriers or have the chipset replaced," he said.

Because many customers have relationships with multiple carriers, Gobi-enabled notebooks can be distributed more efficiently. Instead of stocking different notebooks for different types of connectivity, VARs and distributors can stock just one model from each manufacturer.

Raleigh said Qualcomm will add more notebooks models as they become available.

"You can connect anywhere you can get a cell phone call," he said.

Raleigh added that Gobi gives users and consumers the freedom of being untethered from Wi-Fi hotspots and connecting using "almost anywhere" cellular broadband.

"While a lot of people are talking about other things like WiMax this is real," Raleigh said.