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Apple seeks HSUPA engineers; Intel preps budget ultraportable CPU

Apple is searching for lab engineers familiar with a more advanced version of 3G than in current iPhones. Also, Intel is reportedly crafting a processor that would straddle the line between netbooks and costly ultraportables, and Orange France is reporting gangbuster iPhone sales over the holidays.

Apple looking for HSUPA-aware engineers

With less than a year of iPhone 3G being on the market, Apple is hiring staff it hopes will have experience with more advanced standards.

The company is looking for performance engineers for both analysis and pure testing that will both ideally be aware of High Speed Uplink Packet Access, or HSUPA. The standard improves current 3G networks, most of which operate on slower HSDPA (Downlink) technology, by significantly improving the maximum upload bandwidth available to each user.

In current form, upstream speeds reach up to 5.76 megabits per second in peak conditions and simplify tasks such as video conferencing or posting media on the road. Download speeds are also usually faster on these networks and top out at roughly 7.2 megabits in the best circumstances.

It's uncertain if the request for experience in HSUPA is an indication of any immediate plans to introduce HSUPA to future iPhone incarnations; Apple lists the standard as an optional requirement and says only HSDPA is necessary for the job. The faster cellular data is only known to have appeared once before in Apple's recruitment pages, however, in an October posting looking for a firmware engineer knowledgeable in this technology as well as other 3G and even 4G standards.

Intel gearing up economy ultraportable processor?

If loose-lipped Intel staff at CES this past week are accurate, the semiconductor company will have a new ultraportable CPU due sometime in 2009, according to CNET.

The mystery chip is characterized as a compromise between netbook processors like the Atom, which is very low power but also very slow, and the relatively fast but expensive full-featured chips used by ultraportable notebooks.

While not providing much detail, the Intel tipsters do say the chips would be very small with a package measuring just 22mm square and would have most of the same architecture as Intel's ultra-low voltage processors, which today use the Core 2 Duo platform.

By building the new design, Intel would have a way of making whole notebooks under one inch thick but without either driving the cost up or neutering performance, according to the report.

Orange France's iPhone holiday sales triple in 2008

Apple enjoyed a banner holiday season for iPhone sales in France, says a new claim by the French newspaper La Tribune.

Although it doesn't identify its sources for the claim, the publication says that Orange alone sold about three times more iPhones over the Christmas season than its underwhelming 2007, when just 70,000 original iPhones traded hands.

The number is also potentially higher for France as a whole following a mid-December ruling this year that forced non-exclusive sales of the Apple handset in the country, allowing Bouygues Telecom, SFR and other local carriers to offer the device themselves.

None of the involved companies have commented on the claims.