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Qualcomm unveiled its initial dual-core chipset strategy during the COMPUTEX 2010 tradeshow in June. The company announced this week that OEM system customers are expected to receive production-ready shipments of its 1.5 GHz QSD8672 Snapdragon chipset before the end of the year.

The first dual-core chipsets rolling out to customers fall into the MSM8x60 family intended for high-end smartphone handsets. One model provides HSPA+ protocol support while the other enables multi-mode HSPA+/EV-DO Rev. B. Both smartphone chipsets feature two CPU cores running at up to 1.2 GHz.

The top-end mobile processor offers specifications rivaling CULV architectures for low-end laptops. Utilizing a 45nm production process, each of the cores is rated up to 1.5 GHz. The QSD8672 is expected to appear in commercially available devices starting in early 2011.

Mobile devices incorporating dual-core processors should provide enhanced performance for video capture or playback up to 1080p high-definition, along with support for contemporary mobile broadband air interface protocols such as HSPA+, LTE and WiMAX.

The capabilities of mobile chipsets have increased so greatly over the last couple years that system vendors have considered using them for larger form-factor devices. In fact, the smartbook concept emerged from this realization. While it does pose a potential cost savings over systems using the traditional x86 architecture, OS choices for non-handset devices have yet to be widely adopted outside the Windows desktop platform.