Qualcomm Offers Cash Incentives, Broader Support, in Bid to Energize App Developers (and Partners Like Twitter)

7/1/10Follow @bvbigelow

After taking a hiatus in its annual Brew developers conference last year, Qualcomm raised the curtain yesterday on its new and improved Brew MP (mobile platform) at Uplinq—a reincarnated developers conference that recasts the two-year-old Brew MP as a “fully realized” mobile operating system that is broader, deeper, and more developer friendly.

Following a multimedia music video intro that blared the pop hit “Hey Soul Sister” by Train, Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs opened the conference and almost immediately addressed the old Brew versus new Brew question.

“Why did we change the name to Uplinq and how is it different from Brew conferences?” Jacobs rhetorically asked. “The Brew conference was focused on just one platform. Uplinq is focused on many platforms, because we support many operating systems on our chips… We’re working to optimize the integration of our hardware and software, so your applications run better on Qualcomm’s chips and especially our Snapdragon chipsets.”

From there, Jacobs moved into a coordinated presentation, which included a bow to AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint (the three U.S. operators working with Brew MP), and a variety of partners developing new Brew MP-based apps that were at times dazzling. (A webcast of Jacobs talk is here.)

The biggest crowd-pleaser was a demonstration by two Mattel executives, including the vice president of technology, Peter Marx, who played an augmented reality version of “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.” While the robots existed only virtually—on the display screens of a pair of Nexus One handsets (running Android 2.1 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset)—the amusing battle included thunderous, clanking sound effects and showers of sparks with each metallicized blow that prompted cheers from the audience. Augmented reality, Marx said, “allows us to do things that were unimaginable not that long ago. Think about what we can do with Barbie and with Hot Wheels.”

Following another demonstration of an augmented-reality computer game by David Helgason, CEO of San Francisco-based Unity Technologies, Jacobs announced Qualcomm’s first augmented-reality developer challenge. The Qualcomm challenge offers a total of $200,000 in prizes for the top three teams that create “the most creative augmented reality apps,” using Qualcomm’s just-released software development kit. The first-place award is $125,000, second-place is worth $50,000, and third is $25,000.

In this same vein, Qualcomm separately announced a similar contest for … Next Page »

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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