@CES: Jacobs outlines Qualcomm's mobile evolution and vision

** As published in RCR Wireless News ** LAS VEGAS–As if there wasn’t enough evidence already of mobile’s growing power in the consumer electronics space, Qualcomm Inc. Chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs gave his first-ever keynote at CES this morning. When it comes to wireless communications, one would be hard-pressed to find a company that’s become as entrenched and integral to the growth and innovations the industry has achieved as Qualcomm. Indeed, the San Diego-based company’s rise has been lock-in-step with the exponential rise in global mobility. And yet, Jacobs began his speech today: “Qualcomm’s not exactly a household name.” Jacobs believes every electronics device will eventually be like a cellphone, in varying form factors of course, but the key ingredient being that always-connected data capability.

“Every consumer electronics device I can think of is better when it’s connected to the network,” he said. “Fundamentally, inside they’re going to be cellphones.” If all the mobile devices that are currently in use today were pooled together, they could be used to build the Great Wall of China, Jacobs said, putting the market’s size in a unique perspective. “The cellphone is the most widespread platform every created by human kind,” he continued. “This is the biggest platform in the history of mankind – pretty amazing.” New partnerships Jacobs did not shy from his opportunity on the big stage as he rattled off a series of new partnerships, programs and initiatives already on the short track. First on his list was the introduction of a new smartphone from HTC that uses Qualcomm’s Brew mobile platform. “HTC Smart has a friendly, compact design with an intuitive user experience that is based on HTC Sense,” HTC CEO Peter Chou said after joining Jacobs on stage. Highlighting the device as a more affordable smartphone option, Chou said HTC’s mission is to “bring the smartphone to the masses.” Snapdragon’s place in smartbooks Then it was time to talk Snapdragon, Qualcomm’s 1 GHz processor chipset for mobile devices. “It’s pretty obvious to us that wireless is going to impact every aspect of our lives,” Jacobs said. “It’s changing the Internet from a sit-down experience to a carry-along experience.” Snapdragon is being used by 15 manufacturers with 40 different smartphone and smartbooks in design today, he said. With that, Jacobs invited top executives at HP and Lenovo on stage to announce a pair of new products. Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang introduced the Skylight Smartbook, which is as thin as many smartphones on the market today with a user experience better suited for the mobile web and an application menu layout look that resembles Mac OSx. Next up was Hewlett Packard’s EVP of personal systems group, Todd Bradley, who introduced an Android-powered smartbook with a 10-inch touchscreen. Jacobs also demonstrated Mirasol, a display technology from Qualcomm that’s similar to E-ink, but in full color and with full-motion video capabilities. The company plans to make the technology commercially available by the end of the year. The greater good Following the slate of announcements, Jacobs dove into some of Qualcomm’s social programs. “For many people around the world, the only computer they’re going to have is going to be their cellphone, and we fundamentally believe that cellphones have the ability to change the world for the better,” he began. Qualcomm is involved in almost 40 projects in 22 countries. They range from a service that provides fishermen with up-to-date information on weather and fish locations in southern India to a program in remote regions of Peru that allows medical professionals to conduct follow-up visits via video over a wireless network. Qualcomm is also taking a greater role in education and health care. Jacobs chose to end his talk with FLO TV, just as he has done at seemingly all of his keynotes over the past few years. In 2010, the company will “double down” on sports programming with more than 3,000 hours scheduled so far. “Sports is a sweet spot for our FLO TV viewers,” he said. To give his comments more sports heft, sportscaster James Brown with CBS joined him to close things out. Sports fans are some of the “most knowledgable and informed” people around, Brown said. “In terms of staying connected, sports and technology is the perfect combination for me,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon me to stay as versant as I possibly can.” Qualcomm’s FLO TV enables sports fans to do that on their own terms.