Qualcomm Shows its Consumer Side at CES, Venture Investor Joins Economic Development Corp., Dot Hill Buys Cloverleaf, & More San Diego BizTech News

1/11/10Follow @bvbigelow

There was a lot of tech news from Las Vegas last week, and it wants to get out. So we’re setting it free now.

—Dazzling examples of the latest innovations of tablet computers, e-book readers, 3D-TVs, netbooks, and many more electronic devices were introduced at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which ended yesterday in Las Vegas. Avondale Partners analyst John F. Bright predicted that connectivity would be a prevailing theme, which proved to be true.

—Another theme at CES was the emergence of San Diego-based Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) as a force in consumer electronics. Qualcomm has traditionally been a B2B company that supplies wireless chipsets used in devices stamped with other brand names. As an example, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip is inside the new Nexus One Android phone, which was revealed just before the show by Google and HTC. But CEO Paul Jacobs outlined Qualcomm’s rising influence in the first CES keynote address by a Qualcomm executive. In an account prepared by CNET’s Erica Ogg, Jacobs said the company believes that all consumer-related technology devices are going to be connected. In his report of Jacobs’ speech, San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Mike Freeman highlighted “Swagg,” a new wireless gift card and transaction application that Qualcomm plans to roll out later this year.

Len J. Lauer, who was previously employed as the chief operating officer at Qualcomm, was named CEO of Memjet, a private company developing innovative color printing technology. Argonaut Private Equity of Tulsa, OK, is a major investor in Memjet.

—The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. (EDC) found work for Dave Titus, a co-founder and managing partner of Windward Ventures, a San Diego venture capital firm that was becalmed, so to speak, by the market downturn. Titus was named as the EDC’s new managing director of strategic initiatives.

—San Diego-based Verari Systems, which provides blade server racks and related data storage technology, was the subject last week of an asset sale that took place under a “general assignment for the benefit of creditors.” That’s a legal process that enables Verari to avoid a bankruptcy liquidation, and allows Verari’s secured creditors to avoid the trouble and cost of foreclosure.

—Carlsbad, CA-based Dot Hill Systems (NASDAQ: HILL), which provides data storage equipment, announced plans to acquire Cloverleaf Communications, a privately held software developer based in Woodbury, NY. The deal enables Dot Hill to expand its access to the market for cloud storage and storage virtualization. Dot Hill said it is paying about $12 million for Cloverleaf, which got some $43 million in venture capital support.

Qualcomm announced plans to start manufacturing 28-nanometer chips, skipping the 32-nanometer technology that most chipmakers are adopting as the new standard size of microcircuitry patterns printed on semiconductors. Qualcomm’s existing technology makes chips with microcircuits that are about 45 nanometers apart. Qualcomm said it is working on the project with its foundry partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

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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