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) - The heart of any mobile device is its computer brain, or its processing chip. While speed's important, so is the ability to speak with numerous wireless networks and the amount of battery power it uses.

That's why


(QCOM) - Get Qualcomm Inc Report

latest announcement

could be an industry game changer.

The company's calling this

miniature brain

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the RF360 (alluding to the fact that it can handle 360-degrees worth of global radio frequencies.) In reality, it's a tiny, next-generation radio receiver/transmitter system which can handle all seven of the world's cellular modes: LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE.

Qualcomm boasts that this new technology includes the industry's first "envelope power tracker for 3G/4G LTE mobile devices plus a dynamic antenna matching tuner, an integrated power amplifier-antenna switch, and an innovative 3D-RF packaging solution incorporating key front end components."

What does that mean in real terms? First of all, it means improved radio performance and coverage - possibly fewer voice dropouts and lost calls. Packing lots of features into fewer internal spaces also means designers can create thinner mobile devices. Plus, when you create systems which are more efficient then battery life is extended. A win/win situation for everyone.

For manufacturers, using one chip for many different global models could help keep costs down - and lead to better, less expensive devices in the future.

Qualcomm expects we'll begin seeing hardware utilizing this new technology toward the end of 2013.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.