Qualcomm Steps into the Sun with Focus on Mobile OS Development

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) Chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs kicked off the wireless technology giant’s annual conference for mobile software developers in San Diego yesterday with a message that was akin to declaring “Our time has come.”

Jacobs made this point by offering a few staggering factoids:

—Annual sales of smartphones now exceed PCs, and are on track to exceed 1 billion units by 2014.

—The global revenue generated from data usage on mobile devices now amounts to $320 billion a year—more than the revenue from music, Hollywood movies, ISPs, and cable TV combined.

—By 2016, mobile app downloads are projected to hit 66 billion. “We’re really just at the beginning,” Jacobs said. “The mobile phone has already become the center of our lives, and in the future it will have the ability to connect to everything around us, giving us a digital sixth sense.”

In other words, the market for mobile software already is enormous, and it’s only growing. “The ecosystem changes so rapidly that anyone who doesn’t keep up with this technology will quickly become irrelevant,” Jacobs said. Reading between the lines of that quote was another recurring theme of Jacobs’ keynote talk—the market for mobile apps is now all about cross-platform capabilities, and Qualcomm arguably has emerged as the key technology provider. The implication of all this, of course, is that Qualcomm, as the world’s largest provider of wireless semiconductors, is the technology workhorse that software developers would want to hitch their wagons to.

“For nearly three decades, we’ve made it our mission to really push the envelope in terms of what’s possible in mobile,” Jacobs said. “We’ve invested a lot of resources into R&D for innovation, and today our technology is in more smartphones than any other company. We have a lot of tools and resources, and we make it available to [you] developers.”

With the mobile computing revolution in full swing, Jacobs said Qualcomm is using its Snapdragon line of processors to advance the state of the art in connected TVs, machine-to-machine communications, wireless health, mobile gaming, and other mobile innovations.

At the center of this advance, said Jacobs and Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services and a senior vice president of software strategy, are the Android and Windows Phone operating systems—along with Windows RT (Windows on ARM) and HTML5. “All Windows phones are based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon [processors],” Jacobs said, “and that’s something we’re proud of. With Snapdragon and Windows RT, you’re going to see a whole new Windows experience.”

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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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