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05.05.2006 Technology

Microsoft and Qualcomm Partner on Smartphone Tech

By Walaika K. Haskins
Microsoft and Qualcomm Partner on Smartphone Tech

"Having support for Windows Mobile on Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem chipset will bring a familiar software experience to the next generation of smaller, lighter phones with more appealing form factors," said Qualcomm's Sanjay K. Jha

If it has always been your dream to easily edit Word documents without lugging around your laptop, you might be in luck thanks to a new partnership between Microsoft and Qualcomm that aims to vastly improve the capabilities of smartphones.

In many ways, smartphone users already have benefited from Qualcomm's behind-the-scenes mobile technologies. A great many handsets are powered by Qualcomm's processors, tuned for running applications ranging from mobile multimedia to e-mail and 3D gaming.

But the new partnership will tie Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system much more closely to Qualcomm's processors.

Working from Phone

"Having support for Windows Mobile on Qualcomm's MSM chipset will bring a familiar software experience to the next generation of smaller, lighter phones with more appealing form factors," said Qualcomm's Sanjay K. Jha, president of the company's CDMA division.

Qualcomm's MSM -- or Mobile Station Modem -- is a chipset used by phone manufacturers to bring premade functionality to the manufacturing process. With dedicated, premade chipsets, manufacturers do not have to engineer their own.

According to Qualcomm and Microsoft, the new deal will embed certain functions of the Windows Mobile operating system directly in these chipsets, which the companies claimed will result in less bulky smartphones that provide much better battery life.

Bearing Fruit

The two companies said they expect their joint venture will shorten the length of time it takes for device manufacturers to develop affordable, feature-packed smartphones. "Our customers will be able to more quickly design cost-effective and innovative devices that harness the power of our [technology]," Jha said.

These phones also should be able to run a wide range of business and entertainment applications much more quickly as a result of the software being tied more closely to the hardware. These applications include Microsoft Office Mobile, Windows Media Player Mobile, and offerings from other vendors.

The partnership is expected to bear fruit as early as the second half of 2006. The announcement came on the same day that Nokia and ATI confirmed they were teaming up to bring improved multimedia content, including 3D games, mobile TV, and high-quality video to Nokia phones.

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