Mobile chipset maker Qualcomm has unveiled its fifth generation Gobi platform based on its Gobi 4G LTE wireless baseband modems - MDM9615 and MDM9215 - that will support LTE, TD-LTE, TD-SCDMA and TDD networks, triggering speculations that iPad 3 (and even iPhone 5) will debut with 4G LTE option.

TDD is an alternative to FDD, developed by China to bypass Qualcomm patent royalty paying, but Gobi v5 supports TDD too. It is also backward compatible with HSPA and Rev. EV-DO networks, along with having GPS capability. Qualcomm also revealed in the press release that the Gobi will be compatible with top mobile operating systems like Android, Windows and Apple iOS.

Verizon iPhone 4 was the first Apple device to have Qualcomm Gobi chipset as AT&T used a different baseband chip for iPhone 4.

Qualcomm now has announced that the fifth-gen Gobi chip will be used by Apple in upcoming iPad and iPhone. It means Apple iPhone 5 – expected to be released this September/October - will be shipped with the same chip. Thus, we can expect a universal iPhone 5 hardware supporting different network carriers.

We can also expect the third-gen iPad (which will supposedly debut on March 7) to be equipped with the fifth-gen Gobi platform. Apple is expected to bring new Gobi chips to its next generation iPads and iPhones as it will also reduce the tech giant’s development costs. Both iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S lack LTE support, even on Verizon, though the carrier has a nationwide LTE network. But the upcoming Apple iPad and iPhone will be LTE ready.

Qualcomm’s press release makes Apple iPad 3 release schedules easily predictable. As Gobi v5 is a platform that supports any 3G and 4G network across the globe, using the same platform in every iPad means it is easier for Apple to release the device worldwide, instead of dividing the globe in territories based on network carrier’s operational baseband.

“Our Gobi fifth generation reference platform helps ensure that OEMs can develop products across their choice of operating systems and hardware platforms to meet the growing demand for mobile connectivity,” said Fram Akiki, senior director of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.

Not only smartphones and tablets, Gobi will also find its way to laptop market and any other electronic gadget that needs some serious connectivity features. As mobile broadband technology evolves, Gobi v5 chip is considered as a strong factor.

(Reported by Johnny Wills, Edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

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