Gobi - WiMax a Go By!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

QualComm announces Gobi. Gobi packs EV-DO and HSDPA capabilities in a single chip, a punch aimed at side-lining Intel-backed WiMax. Whether it originates from 'Go and Be' or it implies Go-Bi (for the two technologies), the product does not disguise its intent.

I am very happy to see this product, though I am not surprised. For one, I strongly believe that in order for QualComm to maintain its position in the semiconductor industry, it should start diversifying. I am betting on QualComm making greater strides in the PC/Notebook market. I do not wish to digress on these comments and will reserve them for an article to be published later on Sramana Mitra's site. Secondly, as I have often stressed in my earlier articles, the future of wireless is all about integration. The technologies have been defined for the next 10-15 years. It is about how these are packaged and made available to the user who wants it all in one gadget. So, this is a right step in that direction.

Will it be successful? I am optimistic about it. The reason is that it has gotten a lot of different folks excited. Laptop makers like HP are raving about it and the carriers are behind it. So, QCOM seems to have got the value-chain bottoms-up, at least that is the impression it wants to give. Contrast this with the situation in the mobile space where it is in loggerheads with a lot of handset makers and other chipset makers. The computer manufacturers stand to make money out of subscriptions as well. So, they may not be inhibited by the initial cost in their quest to make it happen. Carriers of course will back any technology that can grow their subscriptions meaningfully.

This being said, I am not sure about the single-day or other short-term subscription ideas that are doing rounds. The infrastructure set-up cost will not lend itself to such schemes. I can see tie-ups between carriers if longer contracts are signed. But perhaps, a slightly higher cost structure for the long contracts can help offset these short-term schemes that popularize the technology.

In the sequel
, I will look into what this means to QualComm among other things.

Posted by Vijay Nagarajan at 6:33 PM  

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