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Exclusive: Apple, Verizon Team on Tablet

Qualcomm wins a slot in the Apple Tablet, which means all systems go for a Verizon launch.

Updated with additional analyst comments



) --



comes up big again with another win with




The hotly anticipated

Apple Tablet

-- or the

Apple Newton II

-- will feature a wireless chip made by Qualcomm. This discrete little fact would confirm that Apple has chosen



as its telco partner, says Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar.

Apple is planning two versions of the Tablet, says Kumar. One would have Qualcomm's wireless chip and WiFi. The other would have only WiFi, similar to the distinction between the iPhone and iPod Touch.

"If Verizon was willing to offer a big subsidy, I can see Apple working with them on an exclusive basis initially," Kumar says.

If true, it validates what


first reported in July -- that

Apple and Verizon

are working together to sell the

new Tablet


"This makes sense for Apple," says Nielsen Wireless analyst Roger Entner. "It behooves them to build a relationship with a company they haven't worked with yet," Enter said, referring to Verizon.

Having a telco partner means the price of the

Verizon Tablet

will be less than a Tablet purchased directly from Apple. Analysts estimate that Verizon will subsidize about $200 of the Tablet's price and require a two-year data service plan of around $60 a month. Apple is expected to sell the Tablet for around $800 without a subsidy.

Apple is expected to unveil the Tablet next week and make it available for sale in March, though the sale date might be delayed until June due to component supply shortages, Kaufman analyst Shaw Wu indicated in a note Tuesday.

The Tablet will also include a docking station, according to Northeast Securities' Kumar. This could be a crucial feature for consumers who harbor an ongoing love affair with keyboards. For those unsatisfied with touchscreen typing, a dock would connect to a keyboard and mouse.

For Qualcomm, this will be the third high-profile design win in a new crop of mobile devices.




Nexus One

is powered by Qualcomm's SnapDragon processor, the biggest win yet for that up-and-coming chip.

And earlier this month, as


exclusively reported, Apple chose Qualcomm's wireless chip for a new version of

the iPhone that's headed to Verizon

this summer.

It hasn't all been homeruns for Qualcomm however. Some analysts say the chip shop failed to deliver an all-in-one world phone chip that would have enabled Apple to build one iPhone for all carriers.

Qualcomm also didn't win the processor slot for the Apple Tablet. Instead, that victory went to Apple's own

P.A. Semi

, as Kumar first told


. The snub was more painful for



, which had hoped to get involved with the

flagship Tablet device

, should that category attract consumers.

And that is the wild card for the Apple Tablet: Proving there is big consumer demand be for an in-between device with no keyboard and a $2,000 price tag that includes a data contract.

Thousands of people won't blink at the price, but millions probably will.

-- Reported by Scott Moritz

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