This morning, Qualcomm announced the fifth generation of its Gobi reference platform, which provides multiple bands of LTE on one chipset including both FDD and TDD networks, meaning it supports LTE being used in both China and in North America.
The chip also works with HSPA+ and EV-DO for backwards compatibility with 3G networks, so if you get a laptop or tablet equipped with it, you’ll be able to connect to the Internet all over the globe.
This platform is primarily designed large, thin devices like tablets and ultra-portable notebooks, and according to Qualcomm, it works with Windows 8, Android, and a number of other ARM and Intel chips (including, of course, Qualcomm’s own quad-core Snapdragon processors).
Qualcomm’s new Gobi, plus its cousins the MDM9215 and MDM9615 could be the key for the multi-carrier LTE that’s rumored to be present in the iPad 3. This chip could potentially allow Apple to consolidate its lineup of iPads, creating just one cellular-ready iPad 3 for all regions.
The LTE chips that Apple is using are still a mystery, and it is currently unknown if the iPad 3‘s LTE will be a global offering or limited to carriers in the US. In other words, this could be the chip inside the iPad 3, but if it isn’t, it’s definitely something we’ll be seeing in future iterations of Apple devices.