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The now and the future of mobile computing

Dr Paul Jacobs, chair and CEO of Qualcomm, spoke of mobile as the most significant·technology platform in history

Innovation Qualcomm, held this year in Turkey, brings together mobile technologists for market insights, technical presentations and opportunities to network for business.

At IQ in Istanbul, Qualcomm executives delivered their vision of the future for information and communication technologies, and the role in Qualcomm is set to play with respect to core developments. Key to concepts presented at the event was the notion that the future of mobile computing is already here, and that developments underway in the world of mobile computing will shape·the work and play of the future. Dr Paul Jacobs, chair and CEO of Qualcomm, spoke of 'mobile' as the most significant·technology platform in history - significant because it is “not just a developed market phenomenon”.

Mobile is changing the world, as Jacobs sees it. The Qualcomm CEO spoke of fundamental changes in global communities and commercial circles - referring to Wireless Reach, and to the company's support for entrepreneurs in Tanzania, as an example of how technologists such as those at Qualcomm are already changing lifestyles and business practices.


“Mobile really is a force for good,” he said.


Mobile connectivity


“Mobile is now the dominant computing platform,” Dr Jacobs added. “And it is not just computing but entertainment as well.”

In the newly connected world presented by Dr Jacobs, we can compute as we move around. The mobile is everywhere, enhancing the experience of the Internet, enabling interaction almost everywhere. And in many emerging markets, the mobile is and will be the only computing experience. So, the need for connection is a key issue. And so is the need for full Web experience. A fundamental point for the Qualcomm CEO is that the company is known for connectivity, above all – and continues to support mobile connectivity through support for transition from video-centric communications to data traffic management.

Dr Jacobs spoke also of standards - and of the need to adopt a comprehensive approach to provision for standards - whether one works with LTE, LTE Advanced, HSPA+, and 3G as the baseline for progression to deployment. In this sense, he referred to a future of heterogeneous networks, which organise themselves. He spoke, also - in a related point -·of the need to refarm spectrum from relatively inefficient 2G to relatively efficient 3G. Broadly speaking, with respect to mobile connectivity, a multimode approach is critical to success.


Turn to the deviceDr Paul Jacobs, chair and CEO of Qualcomm


Dr Jacobs added considerations on consumer experience of devices. There is an expectation of outstanding experience amongst users, he said. Most growth, in smartphones, will come from the sub-$300 segment, which presents challenges and opportunities with respect to providing a great customer experience. In the respect, Qualcomm is improving its Snapdragon processor to enable improved, more integrated, mobile systems – to improve real-life experiences. Key to this is enhanced support for applications, as well as optimised Web provision.

“You have heard people talk about an Internet of things," said Dr Jacobs. "We believe in an Internet of everything.”

Paul Jacobs talked of connected devices throughout the planet, in the home, at work, inside and outside. He revealed that the focus of networking technology development at Qualcomm would be handled by Atheros – a division which dedicates itself to networking, computing, and consumer devices, with enhanced connectivity as the core driver.


The Qualcomm chipset roadmap


Cristiano Amon, SVP product management QCT, at Qualcomm, spoke at IQ 2011 of the Qualcomm chipset roadmap. He referred to the recent industry focus on the convergence of cell phones and computing – of mobile devices as general computing platforms, of personal computers as mobile devices, and on the Cloud, enabling and supporting mobility and connectivity. Everything now requires a different architecture, he observed. The genesis of the Snapdragon platform has been driven by this need for new forms of architecture, integrating hardware and software, drivers, low-level software and high-level operating systems.


Cristiano Amon, SVP product management QCT, at QualcommAmon spoke, also, of the balance of performance over price underpinning the next generation of market leadership, with respect to communications technologies architectures. He posited Snapdragon as ideally placed for this new market for portable device manufacture. A key challenge lies in the design of integrated modems - the development and availability of a platform for multiple radios, to address as many user markets as possible. There are complex connectivity requirements to be met. Amon presented Snapdragon as the solution underpinning such provision, with multi-tier product segmentation enabled amongst OEMs – with compromises on performance. Look out for the S4 series Snapdragon – with varying price points for various devices.


Enabling the sales of devices is Qualcomm’s objective, through support for manufacturers and application developers. The main strategy at Qualcomm is to build up the network, by building up the network capabilities of the architectures available to operators and so to consumers. Production and provision of the Snapdragon processor is complemented by engagement with communities – in terms of programmes for health, education and commerce. Qualcomm's approach to market now is is to work more directly with the retailer, so enabling content and services by enabling smarter applications. Providing smarter architecture is fundamental to the success of this approach.

On this, Qualcomm VP - and president of Qualcomm's Middle East & Africa operations - Jihad Srage spoke about the company's core competency in technology. Mr Srage stressed that retailers must understand what the processor can do for the consumer, to support handset market sales - to deliver that additional sales push. The operator, he said, sees this as adding value, and therefore appeal, to the network.

Additional considerations were offered, on the possibilities for smartphone markets of the connecting cables from Asia and Europe to Africa's shores, and how these translate into changes in network usage.

Jihad Srage said that careful management of connectivity for the coming smartphone ecosystem is required. Srage cited Mobinil as an example of an operator that has focused on improving efficiency and integrating services to monetise the increased utilisation of smartphones. He also cited Zain as an example of Qualcomm at work.

“Our objective with Zain is to ensure that they have a good network,” he said – the intended result being to drive revenues and loyalty through enhanced customer experience, relative to Zain’s competitors, across a range of devices.

“The consumer is getting the message,” he added, with significant growth in 3G subscribers and in devices across EMEA. OEMs face stiff competition from China, which competes in Africa on price – and successfully so.


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