Qualcomm Unveils New Phone Chips to Fend Off Intel, Broadcom

Qualcomm Inc., the largest maker of semiconductors used in mobile phones, said it will unveil chips with new capabilities, aiming to keep manufacturers tied to its products as rivals including Intel Corp. upgrade offerings.

Qualcomm -- whose modems are used in Apple Inc.’s iPhone -- will announce new 610 and 615 chips this week at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. Both can be plugged into existing Qualcomm-based phone designs and can process data in 64-bit chunks. The 615 has eight processing cores, said Cristiano Amon, an executive vice president.

Qualcomm has racked up a dominant market share by being first to offer chips that are capable of accessing the fastest cellular network technology, known as long term evolution, or LTE. As rivals such as MediaTek Inc., Intel and Broadcom Corp. catch up with that capability, Qualcomm is expanding to less-expensive phone models, and making it easier for manufacturers in emerging markets to upgrade to more capable processors.

“We feel very confident that we’ll be able to compete and maintain our position,” Amon said in an interview. “We’re working very, very hard to maintain a distance with our competition.”

In Barcelona, Qualcomm will also show off LTE chips capable of faster download speeds and new networking that will use LTE to broadcast video to handsets. Qualcomm said it expects carriers and other companies to start to adopt the technology to implement mobile TV services.

Phones based on the new chips will appear in the fourth quarter, San Diego-based Qualcomm said.

Last year Qualcomm had more than 90 percent of the market for phone processors with built in LTE capabilities, according to researcher IDC Corp. The company’s processors and modems are in some versions of Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy line of phones.

Ian King in San Francisco at +1-415-617-7171 or ianking@bloomberg.net