Qualcomm backs Windows 8, CEO says tablet hybrids coming

Qualcomm will collaborate with Microsoft on the next version of Windows as readies a new generation of chips for smartphones and tablets.

SAN DIEGO--Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said a potpourri of devices will tap into the goodness of its Snapdragon chips, as the company also said Wednesday that it is working with Microsoft on the next version of Windows.

Qualcomm's dual-core Snapdragon processor will make its first high-profile appearance in Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad tablet, due soon. Like chips from Texas Instruments and Apple, Qualcomm's APQ8660 is based on the ARM architecture.

The company also began sample shipments this month of its next-generation "Krait" MSM8960 processor, which is designed to run at speeds up to 2.5GHz and integrates both 3G and LTE (4G) onto one piece of silicon, according to Raj Talluri, a vice president at Qualcomm.

And Qualcomm intends to put Krait to good use. Today, it announced that this chip is designed to power devices running the next version of Windows, typically referred to as Windows 8.

"The [two] companies' collaboration continues to address the converging and fast-changing mobile computing landscape, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon family of dual-core and quad-core processors will enable optimal computing performance, extended battery life and connectivity, and top-notch graphics and multimedia in devices," Qualcomm said in an announcement tonight.

Qualcomm CEO speaking at the company's Uplinq conference today in San Diego.
Qualcomm CEO speaking at the company's Uplinq conference today in San Diego. Brooke Crothers

There are a lot of devices are in the pipeline, according to CEO Paul Jacobs, speaking at Qualcomm's Uplinq conference here today. "You will see some clamshell looking devices. Some of them will be convertible. Some of them will be just tablets. We're going to see a wide range of stuff going on. You're going to see some pretty cool stuff coming out this Christmas in terms of Android-based devices," he said.

And the CEO suggested that carriers are working on ways to make data plans more flexible for consumers using more than one device with a 3G or 4G connection. For example, today if you own both a 3G iPad and 3G iPhone, you must sign up for two separate data contracts.

"A lot of it's going to come about by having more family plans. More bucket kind of plans," he said. "[For example] a bucket of bits where you have a guaranteed data rate inside a certain set of bits. Once you use that up, your guarantee goes down. You can still do e-mail or Web browsing, but maybe you can't do video. So, if you had a bucket plan that would make more sense because you can put more devices on it. And more devices means you'll get a bigger bucket."

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