In Challenge for Emerging Netbook Market, Qualcomm Moves From Smart Phones to Smartbooks

As interest builds in the coming introduction of new wireless netbooks, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs tells the San Diego Union-Tribune that many netbooks based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor also will include Qualcomm’s MediaFLO, the company’s satellite-based TV broadcast for mobile devices.

In an interview with the newspaper’s editorial board, Jacobs says the new line of netbooks—which he calls “smartbooks”—will use MediaFLO technology so users can watch live events and FloTV programming transmitted directly to their display screens. But the technology also will be used to rapidly broadcast and store Internet content. Qualcomm calls it “data casting,” Jacobs says. “That’s sending snippets of data down, so headlines, weather, sports, stock quotes — whatever you might be interested in — we are looking at broadcasting that down to the device. So when you open it up, there’s already live data on it. I think that will be pretty compelling.”

Paul Jacobs

Paul Jacobs

The next three months should tell whether Jacobs is right, but we should expect a few more surprises by the time the Christmas shopping season begins in earnest.

In June, Collins Stewart analyst Ashok Kumar said Hewlett-Packard plans to launch a line of netbooks before the year ends that will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, rather than the Intel Atom processors now dominating the sector. As the world’s No. 1 desktop PC maker, HP’s decision to power its netbooks with Snapdragon chips represents a significant endorsement for Qualcomm over Intel and the line of Atom processors developed for the emerging netbook market.

Neither Qualcomm nor HP have announced the deal, but Kumar told me at the time that he’s got sources in HP’s Asian supply chain who are vouching that HP’s new netbooks will have “Qualcomm inside.”

Analysts have been closely watching the uptake of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset—both for what it means for Qualcomm’s expansion into smartbooks (as opposed to netbooks) as well as the ramifications that has for Intel’s business. But in his interview with the Union-Tribune, Jacobs minimized the significance of the looming head-on competition between Qualcomm and … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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2 responses to “In Challenge for Emerging Netbook Market, Qualcomm Moves From Smart Phones to Smartbooks”

  1. Ronnie says:

    “If you look out 12 months, Microsoft has said they’ll provide support for ARM (the chip technology used in Snapdragon and nearly all mobile phones) with Windows 7 Mobile Version in 2010,” Kumar says. Hahaha, you will find a lot of this eventually as more large companies want into this market, just like has been reporting