Sony Adding Qualcomm's Gobi Chip To Select VAIOs

When Sony's VAIO P was unveiled here in America, many lamented the fact that it's onboard mobile broadband chip was locked to Verizon Wireless. Over at Mobile World Congress, Sony has announced plans to remedy that, though -- oddly enough -- it never mentions if these problem-solving machines will ship to the USA.

Sony Electronics and Qualcomm Incorporated have teamed up in order to deliver a trio of Sony notebooks with Gobi technology built in. For those unfamiliar with that last term, Gobi is a new module that supports both CDMA and GSM data networks, giving users the potential to surf the mobile broadband superhighway on EV-DO (CDMA) or HSDPA (GSM). Up to 3G speeds are supported, and while a contract with two operators is obviously required to take full advantage of both, it's nice to have the option for those perpetually on the road.

The MDM1000 chip will be arriving soon in future VAIO P, VAIO Z and VAIO TT (pictured) machines, but Sony is careful to point out that "VAIO models utilizing Gobi technology may vary by region." Mike Abary, senior vice president of VAIO product marketing at Sony Electronics, had this to say about the collaboration: "By embedding Qualcomm technology into our notebooks we are offering our customers an attractive combination of performance and ease of use. We expect Gobi 3G connectivity to be a sought-after feature and a significant enhancement."

Sony has yet to disclose pricing details for how much extra the Gobi module will cost, and while we'd love to hear that these notebooks were headed to US soil soon, we get the impression that (at least with the VAIO P) Sony will hold back a bit in order to not infuriate those early buyers who are now stuck with a Verizon-only WWAN module.

Tags:  Sony, VAIO, Qualcomm, Gobi, WWAN