Qualcomm releases new Gobi universal mobile chips with LTE support

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014


Qualcomm has announced its fifth generation Gobi platform for mobile baseband, which it calls the "industry’s first to support multiple LTE bands on a single device for 4G connectivity."



The company notes its MDM9615 and MDM9215 "Gobi" 4G LTE wireless baseband modems deliver "fast LTE connectivity on FDD and TDD networks worldwide, with backwards compatibility to both HSPA+ and EV-DO networks."



The universal nature of the new baseband modems allow for a single device to support both UMTS 3G (operated by AT&T and most global carriers) and CDMA EvDo 3G (operated by Verizon and Sprint in the US, as well as a variety of other carriers, including large installments in China and India), as well as supporting both flavors of the new LTE 4G standard.



FDD or Frequency-Division Duplex is the signaling technology used by both CDMA and WCDMA/UMTS for most modern cellular systems, and the technology most LTE providers will use, including the new networks being built out by AT&T and Verizon in the US. Qualcomm owns the patents supporting CDMA and WCDMA technologies.



TDD or Time-Division Duplex is an alternative flavor of the LTE standard developed by China, and is being deployed in that country under the name TD-LTE. China developed its own TDSCDMA and now TD-LTE to avoid paying Qualcomm's patent royalties. By supporting both FDD and TDD technologies, Qualcomm's chipset will enable a single device to work on any 3G or 4G network.











Apple's use of Gobi



Apple began using Qualcomm's Gobi mobile chips with the launch of iPhone 4 on Verizon, which expanded the availability of the iPhone to Verizon's CDMA network without taking advantage of the chip's ability to also work on UMTS networks.



Not until the release of iPhone 4S last quarter did Apple take full advantage of the universal network support of Qualcomm offered. Using Gobi chips, the same iPhone 4S design can be used on either network (although carriers do not necessarily support moving a locked iPhone 4S from one carrier type to another).



For iPad 2, Apple produced two 3G versions, one for AT&T using the same Infineon X-Gold 618 baseband used by the GSM iPhone 4, and a second for Verizon using the Qualcomm Gobi, although like the Verizon iPhone 4, it can't be used on GSM/UMTS networks.



iPad 3 is expected to shift Apple exclusively to Gobi baseband chips, enabling a universal "3G" model that works across any provider. However, it is also expected to adopt 4G LTE features, and Qualcomm's latest MDM9xxx line would allow for a single model that could be supported by any carrier, including China's TD-LTE.



Apple and LTE



Last April, Apple's chief executive Tim Cook explained that "the first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make." Despite lacking LTE support, Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S led sales of smartphones last year, even among carriers like Verizon who strongly pushed LTE adoption.



Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple would produce an LTE iPad 3 model for sale by both AT&T and Verizon.



Following the coevolution of the iPhone and iPad, the next iPhone model is very likely to follow in the same direction of iPad 3, using Qualcomm's Gobi chips to provide universal access to both faster LTE networks and gain expanded entry into China, leveraging TD-LTE to open access to the world's largest carrier, China Mobile.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,492member
    Are these the low power LTE chips finally? Or are those yet to come?
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Softbank, one of two carriers for the iPhone in Japan, will be using a variation on the TD-LTE that China Mobile is deploying. Apparently they are going live with this Friday at 76Mbps.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Are these the low power LTE chips finally? Or are those yet to come?



    I think we have some time to wait for that. I'm not even sure it's at the power efficiency level of '3G' for the second-gen iPhone.



    Gobi isn't also known for being too power efficient either but I suspect that with Qualcomm and Apple pressing this it won't be an issue to worry about for too long.
  • dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Are these the low power LTE chips finally? Or are those yet to come?



    Lower in power, but like all technology, the more you use it, the faster your battery drains itself.
  • aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,512member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Are these the low power LTE chips finally? Or are those yet to come?



    Pretty sure the issue here is that it is the same baseband for all functions, which eliminated a second chip relative to first-generation "4G" handsets.



    iPhone 5 LTE next Tuesday?
  • splash-reversesplash-reverse Posts: 646member
    Make sense to use on iPad 3 first before the iPhone for battery issues. Plus, iPad is much less 'mobile' than a phone so performance wise, it is better in term of spot coverage -- much more stable or at least constant (unless someone bright enough to hold and walk the iPad in plain view, in public, looking like a tourist, waiting to be mugged)
  • pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    Is it reasonably safe to conclude this assures an iPad 3 LTE?
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Qualcomm has announced its fifth generation Gobi platform for mobile baseband, which it calls the "industry?s first to support multiple LTE bands on a single device for 4G connectivity."








    Excellent news. I hope that interoperability increases in cell phones as a result. It would be great if pretty much any phone would work on pretty much any network.
  • ljocampoljocampo Posts: 657member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    Excellent news. I hope that interoperability increases in cell phones as a result. It would be great if pretty much any phone would work on pretty much any network.



    Agreed. If the iPad 3 or any future iPhone is tied to one carrier and forever locked, I'm not buying. I'll stick to WiFi for the iPad 3 unless an LTE or 3G (world) model can be used on any carrier month to month. As for subsidized iPhones, these contracts are expensive enough that the phone should be unlocked when the contract is up if it's a world phone.



    I understand that these carriers don't want competition, but Apple and the US government should force it down the carriers' throats.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,492member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post


    Agreed. If the iPad 3 or any future iPhone is tied to one carrier and forever locked, I'm not buying.



    Then you're not buying. Or you can buy any of the unlocked models that have been available for quite some time.



    Quote:

    I understand that these carriers don't want competition, but Apple and the US government should force it down the carriers' throats.



    This will never happen.
  • thataveragejoethataveragejoe Posts: 830member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Are these the low power LTE chips finally? Or are those yet to come?



    Yes, these are finally them.



    However if there is LTE in the iPad 3, it won't be one of these. Next iPhone? You betcha.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Lower in power, but like all technology, the more you use it, the faster your battery drains itself.



    Sure, but with a standard usage we've seen the iPhone increase dramatically over the years.



    Taken from AnandTech's testing:
    • iPhone ? 6.90 hours*

    • iPhone 3G ? 4.50 hours

    • iPhone 3GS ? 4.82 hours

    • iPhone 4 (GSM?) ? 6.65 hours

    • iPhone 4 (CDMA?) ? 7.76 hours

    • iPhone 4S (GSM?) ? 9.90 hours

    • iPhone 4S (CDMA?) ? 9.80 hours

    The iPhone didn't really come into its own with '3G' battery life until 2010 with the iPhone 4 where it seemed to push well past the competition. I know I used a Mophie Juice pack up until then. As you can see the first iPhone running on EDGE data is well below what we get now with the iPhone 4S.



    That makes me wonder is LTE ready for a svelte iPhone? Surely we don't expect it to be as good as '3G' data but how much is acceptable for the first-gen LTE for the iPhone? If we assume about a 50% drop like we saw between the '2G' and '3G' iPhones would we be okay with 5 hours on LTE? I think that will be acceptable for most. How much are other phones with comparable battery sizes getting with LTE?



    edit: Also from AnandTech:
    Quote:
    While the MDM9600 is built on a 45nm process, its successor due in 2012 is built on a 28nm process. Qualcomm's current roadmaps show the 28nm MDM9615 arriving in Q2 2012. The 9615 finds itself in a smaller 10x10mm package and is voice enabled as well. Apple (and all other smartphone makers) could replace the MDM6600 with the MDM9615 and have a "single chip" LTE solution for smartphones. I put single chip in quotes because there are obviously other components necessary such as a PMIC and in the case of the MDM9615, an external transceiver. But next year (Q2 to be exact) should be when we can finally get LTE into something iPhone-sized.



    These modems are pretty power hungry DSPs, the move to 28nm should not only help reduce die size and allow for more integration but it should also decrease power consumption. Phones based on the MDM9615 will likely increase LTE battery life to reasonable levels rather than what we've seen from the first generation of devices.



    As you may have heard however, the move to 28nm at both TSMC and Global Foundries isn't really going all that smoothly. The jump from 4x-nm to 28nm is a very big one, so it's not unexpected to have pretty serious teething problems as the process ramps up. I suspect that an aggressive 28nm roadmap that didn't pan out probably caught a lot of SoC and smartphone vendors in a position where they couldn't ship what they wanted to in 2011.



    If you're waiting for an LTE enabled iPhone 5 (or just better battery life out of an LTE smartphone), you'll have to wait until late Q2 next year at the earliest. While I don't like participating in the rumor garbage, if I were to guess at the release date of the rumored iPhone 5 I'd say early Q3 2012.







    * Represents '2G' EDGE data as this model did have '3G'. All other values are for '3G' data.

    ? GSM and CDMA refer to the base technology standard not the actual '3G' standard used for testing.
  • sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Hi DED, as mentioned previously, would you be able to add iPhone 4S to the chart? It does beyond 7.2mbps download, and 10mbps or more can be achieved in several major cities around the world on iPhone 4S.
  • juggernaut30juggernaut30 Posts: 55member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Sure, but with a standard usage we've seen the iPhone increase dramatically over the years.



    Taken from AnandTech's testing:
    • iPhone ? 6.90 hours*

    • iPhone 3G ? 4.50 hours

    • iPhone 3GS ? 4.82 hours

    • iPhone 4 (GSM?) ? 6.65 hours

    • iPhone 4 (CDMA?) ? 7.76 hours

    • iPhone 4S (GSM?) ? 9.90 hours

    • iPhone 4S (CDMA?) ? 9.80 hours

    The iPhone didn't really come into its own with '3G' battery life until 2010 with the iPhone 4 where it seemed to push well past the competition. I know I used a Mophie Juice pack up until then. As you can see the first iPhone running on EDGE data is well below what we get now with the iPhone 4S.



    That makes me wonder is LTE ready for a svelte iPhone? Surely we don't expect it to be as good as '3G' data but how much is acceptable for the first-gen LTE for the iPhone? If we assume about a 50% drop like we saw between the '2G' and '3G' iPhones would we be okay with 5 hours on LTE? I think that will be acceptable for most. How much are other phones with comparable battery sizes getting with LTE?



    edit: Also from AnandTech:







    * Represents '2G' EDGE data as this model did have '3G'. All other values are for '3G' data.

    ? GSM and CDMA refer to the base technology standard not the actual '3G' standard used for testing.






    Its just my own wishing but I think the next iPhone will have LTE. However, we will also see a bump in screen size with the same resolution. 3.7" or 4"?? A larger screen size at the same thickness will be needed to allow for a larger battery inside to accommodate the power requirements of the new LTE radios. Or am I just crazy???
  • sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post


    However if there is LTE in the iPad 3, it won't be one of these...



    Because of availability? Or something else? Curious.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,063member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post


    Make sense to use on iPad 3 first before the iPhone for battery issues. Plus, iPad is much less 'mobile' than a phone so performance wise, it is better in term of spot coverage -- much more stable or at least constant (unless someone bright enough to hold and walk the iPad in plain view, in public, looking like a tourist, waiting to be mugged)



    Walking around like a douche with your iPad in your hand isn't the only 'mobile' use. I"m at work all day with an iPad and no wifi for example. And typically it is a good six hours before I can plug it in somewhere to recharge. And I'm sure I'm not the only example
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,063member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post


    Agreed. If the iPad 3 or any future iPhone is tied to one carrier and forever locked, I'm not buying.



    The iPad has never been locked outside of the carrier tech issue. CDMA isn't really an unlock able tech but apple has given folks a way to have an authorized unlocked phone.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by juggernaut30 View Post


    Its just my own wishing but I think the next iPhone will have LTE. However, we will also see a bump in screen size with the same resolution. 3.7" or 4"?? A larger screen size at the same thickness will be needed to allow for a larger battery inside to accommodate the power requirements of the new LTE radios. Or am I just crazy???



    I think that's the beauty of the the MDM9615, you won't need a larger device to pack in larger chips and or a larger battery, even though a larger battery to get more time from LTE would be great.



    That said, I can definitely see a larger iPhone. If they go with 4" but reduce the side bezel and thin it out and/or curve the back a big they could still have the sam thumb sweep radius while holding in one hand. I think that is important for usefulness. Anything more than about 4" seems to big and 3.7" isn't worth the trouble. Note that the 4:3 aspect ratio plays a role here compared to other phones that have more height compared to width when held in portrait mode.
  • ljocampoljocampo Posts: 657member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Then you're not buying. Or you can buy any of the unlocked models that have been available for quite some time.



    Well as of right Verizon is my only carrier in my rural area that works. So I stay subsidized, but when a world iPhone does show up and coverage gets better, I'll go unlocked.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    This will never happen.



    I wouldn't say never. Apple has a lot more clout these day with iPhone being a large part of a carriers' bottom line. They need Apple more than Apple needs them. Apple could buck them with a software sim and let the consumer decide. And the politicians will do anything for a vote.
  • misamisa Posts: 583member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post


    I wouldn't say never. Apple has a lot more clout these day with iPhone being a large part of a carriers' bottom line. They need Apple more than Apple needs them. Apple could buck them with a software sim and let the consumer decide. And the politicians will do anything for a vote.



    We won't see a "software sim", ever. The sim card is a separate computer with software that basically assigns one-use keys at a certain rate for crypto. The SIM card may also contain additional applications for other uses, and it's that undefined nature that will prevent a software SIM card from ever being used. If it was simple to download a sim card image for any carrier, it also becomes easy for it to be hacked by copying other users sim cards.



    As it is, in the (a specific) piracy community, all they have to do is put the real sim card in a separate device and relay the i/o to the device it's used in, to intercept the data, hugely difficult with physical sim cards. This becomes much easier if the sim card is done in software. This is why new smart cards are re-issued with new new devices, since newer sim cards have newer applications on them.



    Back in 2005 when Cingular merged with AT&T Wireless, they had to release new sim cards to store the much larger "non-roaming" Home base station database. OTA's update this once in a while.



    What you probably meant was Apple to sell only unlocked devices. But this will never fly in the US because Americans are used to "free" subsidy phones. Unlocked devices have higher resale value, because they can be sold to anyone in the world, where as locked devices can only be sold to another customer of the network it is from.



    If you travel out of the country frequently, then unlocked devices are a must, because carriers have roaming costs set with the assumption of business users just want their devices to work, and won't mind the 1.00/min roaming rate. The average user is better buying a 20$ prepaid sim card and paying just the long distance cost instead.



    If you never leave the country, then there is little point in buying an unlocked device unless you plan on keeping the phone for more than the contract duration. For example, the phone I have right now, I bought factory unlocked straight from the manufacturer (It's not an iPhone, this was because the iPhone at the time was a 2G-only device and not at feature parity.) I plan on replacing it with an iPhone 5 or later once there is an LTE model, since the current iPhone 4S now beats it feature for feature. I won't buy a subsidy phone because I want to be able to switch to whichever LTE carrier has the better prices. I have never bought a subsidy phone.
  • therbotherbo Posts: 70member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post


    Hi DED, as mentioned previously, would you be able to add iPhone 4S to the chart? It does beyond 7.2mbps download, and 10mbps or more can be achieved in several major cities around the world on iPhone 4S.



    I get above 10Mbps on the 4S and I live in a tiny little village.



    http://www.speedtest.net/iphone/191108862.png



    Its not hard to get if you have solid 3G networks. The iPhones 4S's 3G actually gets faster results then alot of 4G networks out there.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Misa View Post




    If you travel out of the country frequently, then unlocked devices are a must, because carriers have roaming costs set with the assumption of business users just want their devices to work, and won't mind the 1.00/min roaming rate. The average user is better buying a 20$ prepaid sim card and paying just the long distance cost instead.



    If you never leave the country, then there is little point in buying an unlocked device unless you plan on keeping the phone for more than the contract duration. For example, the phone I have right now, I bought factory unlocked straight from the manufacturer (It's not an iPhone, this was because the iPhone at the time was a 2G-only device and not at feature parity.) I plan on replacing it with an iPhone 5 or later once there is an LTE model, since the current iPhone 4S now beats it feature for feature. I won't buy a subsidy phone because I want to be able to switch to whichever LTE carrier has the better prices. I have never bought a subsidy phone.



    In the EU, roaming rates are coming down massively, its now around £0.20 a minute for a call.
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