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Operators sign up to Qualcomm's connected laptop solution, amid product boom

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Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom and Telefónica have joined operators supporting a Qualcomm-backed platform to bring cellular connectivity to laptops, as the chipset maker made a plethora of pre-MWC announcements.

Windows 10 devices featuring Qualcomm's Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform, which allows laptops to connect directly to LTE networks, can now be supported in Germany, Spain and Switzerland. The platform is already supported by EE in the United Kingdom and TIM in Italy.

Other announcements today (21 February) included Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 820E embedded platform. It is designed to support on-device processing for applications such as computer vision, artificial intelligence and immersive multimedia. It features support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and satellite connectivity.

The chipmaker said it envisages it being used to power VR, digital signage, smart retail and robotics in IoT solutions. It is now available for commercial sampling by device manufacturers, solution providers, and system integrators.

It will sit at the higher end of Qualcomm's embedded IoT platform range, joining the 410E and 600E products.

Qualcomm also announced its new AI Engine, which will be supported on its 845, 835, 820 and 660 mobile platforms.

The service will bring AI capabilities to  devices, allowing them to provide better responsiveness, improved privacy and increased reliability.

Key components of the software include the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine, which provides developers with tools to manage workloads on the processor.

It also includes support for the Android Neutral Networks API, allowing developers to access the processor’s functions through the Android OS, and the Hexagon

Neutral Network library which allows them to run AI algorithms directly on Qualcomm’s Hexagon Vector Processor.

Wi-Fi was another area of focus in today's announcements, with a new WCN3998 solution designed to allow manufacturers to support the emerging 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard on smartphones, tablets and notebooks.

The chipset maker claimed the product doubles network throughput and reduces Wi-Fi power consumption by up to 67 percent, compared to previous generation 11ac Wave-2 solutions.

It also supports WPA3 encryption, the Wi-Fi Alliance’s most recent secure protocol which provides better protection for user passwords and privacy.

The new Wi-Fi product comes after Qualcomm carried out a trial of the latest version of the Wi-Fi Vantage specification, which was launched by the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2016 to allow vendors to offer higher quality services than conventional networks.

The trial took place on Japanese operator KDDI’s public Wi-Fi network at a train station in Tokyo, using Qualcomm’s 845 Mobile Platforms and Ruckus Wireless access points.

It showed up to 10 times faster connection set-up and 30 percent more efficient use of network capacity.