Qualcomm's latest chips will bring 4G LTE to mid-range devices, including Windows RT tablets and medium-priced handsets, as the tech goes mainstream.
The new chips are part of the Snapdragon line, which puts an entire system, including a few ARM cores and networking stacks, onto a single wafer. LTE has been in the Snapdragon mix for a while, but limited to the top-end chips for flagship devices - so now the technology is trickling down.
For Windows RT, unbeloved junior sibling of Windows 8, Qualcomm has apparently "worked with Microsoft" to create a chip adding LTE to the 3G, wi-fi and Bluetooth standards already supported. The Snapdragon 800 supports all those, plus USB 3 and capabilities unique to Windows RT, for anyone still interested in manufacturing today's equivalent of IBM's PCjr.
Snapdragon chips with integrated LTE can already be found in dozens of high-end Android handsets, but we're told the Snapdragon 400 is "the first to offer multimode 3G/4G LTE on processors with both dual-and quad-core CPUs for high-volume smartphones".
High-volume obviously means cheap, thus lining up Qualcomm as the key supplier of chips to what has been eloquently termed the "landfill Android" industry.
Cheap Android handsets are sweeping the developing world, and with some countries looking to skip 3G, or at least slow deployments, then LTE support is essential - which is why Qualcomm is so keen to provide it. ®