Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Chip Keeps Smartbooks “Always On,” Sapphire Energy Developing Bio-Refinery, EvoNexus Picks First Startups, & More San Diego BizTech News

9/14/09Follow @bvbigelow

Qualcomm technology that’s being incorporated in a new line of small and lightweight netbook computers—which Qualcomm calls smartbooks—could make the wireless devices one of the hot gift items for consumers this Christmas. Read on as we unwrap that news and more.

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs says a lineup of “smartbook” computers that are set for launch in coming months will be powered by the wireless giant’s Snapdragon processor—and also will include Qualcomm’s satellite-based TV technology that broadcasts to mobile devices. In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Jacobs says Qualcomm’s MediaFLO technology also will be used to rapidly cache data onto smartbook computer screens “so when you open it up, there’s already live data on it.”

San Diego’s Sapphire Energy plans to build a 300-acre “integrated algal bio-refinery” in Southern New Mexico. Sapphire, which is developing processes for harvesting green crude oil algae to produce gasoline and other biofuels, says the project is expected to take three years to build out. Sapphire also is co-sponsoring a 3,000-mile cross-country road trip by Algaeus, a Toyota Prius hybrid electric vehicle that is using a blend of algae-based fuel and gasoline when it’s not running on electricity.

EvoNexus, the startup incubator formed by the San Diego industry group CommNexus, has enrolled its first three startups. The companies, chosen from 45 applicants, are Medipacs, which is combining new intravenous infusion technology with wireless monitoring capabilities; IO Semiconductor, a wireless chip design startup; and Pixon Images, which is developing real-time video enhancement technologies. The three startups get business coaching, furnished office space for up to two years, and other help at no cost.

—Sean Barr, the Canadian consul in San Diego, says the job of the five-person Canadian consulate in San Diego is to help facilitate collaborations between technology companies in San Diego and Canada. One example of such collaborations is that San Diego’s Isis Pharmaceuticals has been working with OncoGenex Technologies of Vancouver, BC, on an experimental drug for prostate cancer. As Barr put it, “The Canadian government has sort of recognized that the opportunities here are significant enough to warrant a full-time presence that’s focused on the life sciences and biotechnology, cleantech, ITC (Information Technology and Communications), and defense and homeland security.”

Carlsbad, CA-based MaxLinear, a fabless semiconductor company, has focused its business on making it possible to watch TV on any mobile device. The company introduced its latest tuner-and-demodulator designs to provide a single-chip solution for all broadcast TV applications.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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