As Wireless Industry Moves From Voice to Data, Qualcomm’s Top Execs Discuss Their ‘Big Bets’ on Next-Generation Technologies

12/18/09Follow @bvbigelow

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the Snapdragon “platform” in the development of next-generation smart phones and mobile devices. “We wanted to make sure that high-end phones, especially high-end smart phones do what we want because we want to control our own destiny,” Mollenkopf said. “It’s an opportunity for us to provide technology that’s really going to stimulate the industry… and we really expect to see changes in terms of traction and customer uptake.”

The Qualcomm executives also addressed a variety of other matters:

—When asked to identify the next hurdle that needs to be overcome in mobile health technologies, Jacobs said health insurance reimbursement. He cited the importance of building a foundation so some of these “mhealth” devices can get approval and reimbursement. “There is tremendous interest” in mobile health technologies, Jacobs said, “from policy makers all the way down to entrepreneurs and scientists.

—Lauer, a former COO at Sprint, said Qualcomm anticipates the biggest growth in coming years will occur in wireless data, “driven by the proliferation in social networks, the Facebooks and Twitters. We think there’s a lot that can be done to expand these mobile networks.”

—When asked to identify the key areas that Qualcomm finds important, and which other wireless companies do, Mollenkopf said he views Qualcomm’s “systems on a chip” as a key area of technology companies should be looking at, Mollenkopf returned to the importance of Qualcomm’s systems business. At microcircuitry designs of 28 nanometers and below, Mollenkopf said, “There are a number of opportunities for specialized products. What we want to make sure is that our product is working with the ‘best of breed’ of other products.”

Lauer joined in, saying that “software engineering around the user interface” remains a key area of development for Qualcomm partners, and “a lot of folks in San Diego working on UI [user interfaces] could really help us.”

Jacobs added, “We’ve been working on this vision of the phone as the most-personalized space for communications, computing, and entertainment. We’re happy to help people [i.e other wireless technology developers] interact with the operators and with the manufacturers.” With technology capabilities moving increasingly from mobile phones to mobile devices, Jacobs said such devices are ultimately turning into a kind of electronic “sixth sense” that can provide global satellite positioning, image recognition, and a variety of sensing capabilities. And those are the kind of future technologies that Qualcomm is betting on.

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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