Qualcomm Inc said on Thursday that its newest dual-core processor was designed to compete in the red-hot tablet market against Texas Instruments and smaller rival Nvidia, which has dominated design wins in early 2011.

Qualcomm's APQ8060 dual-core Snapdragon processor is being used in Hewlett-Packard Co's TouchPad, which was unveiled on Wednesday.

Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm's Group president, said in an interview on Thursday that companies had agreed to use its processors in more 20 tablets.

He gave no further details but said, If you look at our customer base it tends to be a blend of traditional phone manufacturers going after that market as well as traditional PC manufacturers going after that market and we have a good mix of both.

Qualcomm shares rose 1.41 percent to end at $57.

HP is betting heavily on the its TouchPad tablet, due to be released this summer, making the design win significant for Qualcomm.

Qualcomm's newest processor belongs to the Snapdragon line and it allows for high-definition and 3D video.

Nvidia, which specializes in graphics chips, has led tablet design wins so far this year with its Tegra 2. Its shares are up almost 50 percent since the end of December.

Earlier this week, Texas Instruments announced its newest mobile processor, the OMAP 5, which is also a two-core processor and will be available for tablet and phone makers to test in the second half of 2011.

All three chipmakers' mobile processors' are based on an energy efficient architecture licensed to them by Britain's ARM Holdings.

So far, manufacturers have mostly avoided Intel's mobile chip offerings, which are based on scaled down versions of PC chips and use more energy. Intel expects to launch improved versions early this year and has said it is committed to the mobile market.

On Monday, market research firm IHS iSuppli said Apple's new CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon uses a baseband chip made by Qualcomm, a major design win.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich)