Gobi, which Qualcomm released in October 2007, is a chipset that allows travelers to connect to both High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) networks. Both are types of "super-3G" but are incompatible.
HSPA is used in Europe and much of the rest of the world, while EV-DO is used in North America and parts of Australasia.
The disparity between HSDPA and EV-DO networks has led to a situation where, despite data-roaming agreements between companies such as Vodafone (in the U.K.) and Verizon (in the U.S.), a subscriber to either operator is forced to switch data cards if traveling between the regions.
"The Gobi solution enables enterprise users and consumers with the freedom of being untethered from
Ken Bond, Dell's director of wireless product management, said the move would allow the laptop manufacturer to address the needs of "customers (who) are demanding more freedom to compute the way they want, where they want."
David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.