Anand Parthasarathy

BANGALORE: Engineers at the Bangalore and Hyderabad development centres of U.S.-based wireless technologies leader Qualcomm have helped to create the world's first `universal' chip supporting all three leading standards that turn mobile phones into television receivers. While TV reception on hand phones is just becoming available, the competition between different technologies means phones do not work as miniature television sets wherever one goes. The Qualcomm chip the Universal Broadcast Modem allows handset makers to use a single chip that will work in different geographies.

Key elements of the chip were crafted at the software lab in Hyderabad, while Bangalore-based engineers helped with the hardware aspects.

Slate of three chips

The two teams and a third `applications' team based in Mumbai have also played a significant role in Qualcomm's launch in late 2005, of a slate of three chips in their QSC or low Cost Single Chip range. These chips allow handset makers to produce different types of affordable phones for users of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) the main technology harnessed in India by Reliance and Tata. While one chip provides just voice and messaging capability, the second includes music download features and the third includes a camera and a modem.

In a special telephonic briefing for The Hindu, from London on Tuesday, Sanjay K. Jha, President, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies Group, and Executive Vice-President of the parent company, Qualcomm, described as `awesome' the contribution of its India-based engineers to Qualcomm's product roadmap.

While the company has delivered a chip to fuel a `multi-mode' phone that would work across the two types of network Global Services Mobile (GSM) and CDMA its engineers in India and other centres were already working towards a `World Data Phone', Dr. Jha said.

Qualcomm's Chief Executive, Paul Jacobs, is in India this week for discussions with the Union Communications Ministry as well as with leading Indian players like BSNL, Reliance and Tata Indicom.