Is this the death of the dongle?

It's always been a bugbear of mine that while out and about and blogging that I need to remember to be dongled up or search for a WiFi spot – it's alw

And after retuning from Qualcomm's European Innovation Showcase, it seems that these guys are way ahead of me – the big message was high-powered, ultra-mobile computing, and they had some interesting prototypes to back this up.

Qualcomm might not be a household name, the chances are if you use a smartphone such as the Xperia X1, the G1 or the BlackBerry Storm then you'll be packing the company's 3G tech – and Qualcomm chipsets are also nestling in loads of laptops from the likes of Acer, Dell, HP and Tosh.

Today the guys were showcasing some of the new ways that they are taking our mobile computing experience to the next level.

First up, we were shown some Acer notebooks packing the Gobi platform, which delivers inbuilt 3G broadband – no dongle required. As well as Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Panasonic will soon be manufacturing notebooks with Gobi at their core.

But the really interesting part was getting hands-on with the "Alaska" prototype (above) – it uses Qualcomm's next platform after Gobi, called Snapdragon.

With dual-core 1.5GHz processing powers, it can handle data-heavy tasks that you'd expect from a home PC, such as streaming HD video, uploading images from 12MP cameras – and it'll also tote integrated GPS.

The Alaska prototype itself is pretty cool – it has a 360-degree swivel touchscreen and is incredibly light – a fact that Qualcomm put down to low power consumption, which means that no fan is necessary to cool down the components. It'll support both Linux and Windows.

But it's not just a proprietary prototype we'll be seeing these chipsets in – over 15 manufacturers have signed up, including Asus and Tosh, LG and Samsung. And it's promised to filter to the consumer by the first half of next year, both in smartphones and netbooks.

It looks like the era of mobile computing has only just begun, and I can't wait for the next - gloriously dongle-free – chapter.