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The demands in terms of processing performance, communication bandwidth and real-time throughput of new generation mobile communication applications (mobile and base-stations) are much higher than today's programmable processing architectures can deliver. On the other hand standards and market uncertainties, nonrecurring engineering costs, and lack of access to (or knowledge of) application IP will require the next generation of embedded computing platforms to be fully programmable. In terms of silicon cost and power, practical yet fully programmable embedded computing platforms are enabled by reconfigurable processors that replace fixed ASICs in current standard platforms. This paper explains the concepts behind a novel reconfigurable WCDMA rake receiver and gives benchmark results. The proposed RAKE receiver enables a high performance, yet flexible computing platform for WCDMA.