SAN FRANCISCO -- Wireless technology titan Qualcomm on Wednesday said it is unleashing technology that will let people in poor countries connect to the Internet without personal computers.
Qualcomm said it has a "Kayak PC alternative" that enables devices such as televisions or monitors to link online using 3G high-speed broadband wireless networks that are becoming increasingly available in developing countries.
The Kayak design combines Qualcomm modems and mobile telephone computer chips into a portable gadget that eliminates a need for telephone or cable wire connections to the Internet.
"The broad footprint of 3G networks means that wireless is the answer to Internet access for worldwide markets -- especially in emerging regions," said Qualcomm CDMA Technologies vice president of product management Luis Pineda.
Pineda added that Kayak "is leveraging cloud computing over wireless broadband networks to help bring new areas of the world into the global online community for the first time."
Kayak devices operate with an Opera software browser and can be connected to a computer mouse and keyboard. The devices can also feature built-in screens.
Qualcomm is making Kayak technology available to electronic device makers such as Taiwan-based Inventec Corporation and hopes to be testing potential product offerings in Southeast Asia early next year.
"Emerging markets will be a huge growth driver for the telecommunications industry in the coming years," said Inventec vice president of marketing Mark Hirsch.
"We are very excited about Qualcomm's innovative Kayak reference design that leverages wireless networks to bring Internet connectivity to developing markets."
Kayak is Qualcomm's first foray into a blossoming market of mobile telephones, laptops and other devices that link wirelessly to the Internet on new-generation high speed networks using cellular signal towers.
Such technology is expected to let people in developing countries "leapfrog" into the Internet Age by skipping a need to build telephone or cable landline infrastructures.
Once online, people unable to afford sophisticated home computers or packaged software will be able to tap into a "cloud computing" trend in which applications are offered online as free services
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