Qualcomm Going Hollywood in Bid to Expand Mobile Content

6/1/11Follow @bvbigelow

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), lifted the curtain today on a new partnership with Hollywood’s powerful Creative Artists Agency, setting the stage for a new generation of mobile apps that can take advantage of CAA’s portfolio of movie stars, athletes, musicians, and video games.

Qualcomm chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs revealed the new partnership today at Uplinq, the San Diego wireless giant’s annual app developer conference. The new partners said they have formed a joint venture called Creative Mobile Labs (CML) to develop games and other content for mobile devices, with Qualcomm providing the underlying enabling technology and CAA providing the rights to such celebrities as Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Derek Jeter, and David Beckham.

Michael Yanover, CAA’s director of business development, told the audience that their goal in creating CML is “to find the best talents of story-telling and character development,” and “to create the ultimate mobile app experiences.”

New mobile apps created through CML “may live somewhere between games and entertainment,” Yanover added, “but they will certainly push into both.” In what amounted to a recruiting pitch, Yanover also encouraged app developers in the audience to join CML.

The partnership reflects how Qualcomm has begun to work with major entertainment companies like CAA, Dreamworks, and Sony Ericsson to both expand the reach of its own technology and to enhance the content available for mobile devices. Qualcomm’s Jacobs used examples of advances in audio, 3D, and augmented reality throughout his hour-long presentation.

Qualcomm’s expanded emphasis on content also represents a logical step from the focus of last year’s Uplinq developer’s conference, when the world’s largest maker of wireless chips sought to assure app developers it was working to make its technology compatible with a wide variety of operating systems.

In another example of the company’s expanding mobile media strategy, Jacobs explained how Qualcomm has been working to help Dreamworks promote the sale of DVDs like Kung Fu Panda and Transformers 2 by using augmented reality (AR) technology. The Qualcomm CEO then introduced John Batter, Dreamworks’ president of production feature animation, who showed how smartphone users will be able to watch an AR preview of a movie by just pointing their camera phone at the back cover of the DVD’s packaging.

Jacobs also invited Rikko Sakaguchi, Sony Ericsson’s executive vice president and chief creation officer, to make a presentation about the company’s Experia product line, which is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset and the Android operating system. In explaining the new Experia Play, which is a smart phone with gaming capabilities, Sakaguchi said Sony Ericsson is focusing increasingly on content and content development.

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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