All Things Connected: Qualcomm Executives Talk About Mobile Complexity

5/6/11Follow @bvbigelow

What do the top executives at Qualcomm view as the key developments as mobile communications accelerate with the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and other wireless devices?

At a town hall forum last night at the wireless giant’s San Diego headquarters, Qualcomm chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs said the mobile experience has gone through a critical change in the transition to 3G. It used to be just about voice communications. Now it is all about data. And going forward, Jacobs said, it’s going to be much more about enabling other technologies.

“Now what we see are the chips in phones are going into all these other mobile devices, where all things are connected.” In the world Jacobs describes, each of us would move through a world of wireless devices and networks. There could be some places where you could be surrounded by thousands of radios, and your mobile phone “will sense that and allow you to interact.”

This means the wireless environment is headed for even greater complexity. Jacobs says the smartphone you carry around is just going to have to deal with a lot more devices that use different technology platforms, different operating systems, different software, and different radios—including cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth, near field communication, and satellite-based systems. Qualcomm has even been developing technology that will enable users to move between Western GPS technology and Russia’s expanding Glonass system.

In anticipation of this new wireless ecosystem, Qualcomm demonstrated a new proximity-based, peer-to-peer networking technology called FlashLinq several months ago during the wireless industry’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. FlashLinq is designed to automatically and continuously enable mobile devices to “sense” each other and relay relevant information, based on a user’s individual preferences.

“The key is really going to be making all these things simple [for the user],” Jacobs said. Power consumption also is important, so the system is designed to exchange data with other devices instead of sending it back through the network. “You want to be able to discover what’s around you without burning up your battery, so peer-to-peer is more efficient,” Jacobs said.

Qualcomm also unveiled AllJoyn, an open source software technology for enabling developers to create new mobile apps that allow peer-to-peer groups to form to play a multi-player game or to share information at a conference, and then go their separate ways.

After covering all this in a short overview of the company’s technology initiatives, Qualcomm’s chairman and CEO was joined on … 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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