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Less phones, more IoT on Qualcomm's horizon

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Qualcomm? Snapdragon? Android phones? IoT?

Qualcomm is entering the world of IoT. CEO Steve Mollenkopf said the company, which has bested Intel, TI, Samsung and MediaTek in the market for chips used in Android phones, is now "going into a number of adjacent markets leveraging what we are developing in mobile."

The Snapdragon processor is now powering more than 1 billion Android phones, said Mollenkopf, noting the company sold 748 million MSM chips in calendar 2013 alone. Some 1,350 Snapdragon devices have been announced, with 525 more in design.

Now, the company is veering away from smartphones to bring computing power and connectivity to the world of Internet of Things.

Just last week, the San Diego-based company showcased its latest innovations, including watches like the Timex Ironman, which uses one of Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips and its Mirasol display.

Timex Ironman

The Ironman One supports a cellular radio.

The watches get a bad rap for short battery life, but Raj Talluri, Qualcomm's head of product management, said the company is not yet ready to make a chip customised for wearables. "When markets are not large enough and people are not sure of all the use cases, they use what's out there, and as markets mature, we can make more optimised silicon," he told a press gathering.

Most of the new watches use 640 x 480 pixel displays that refresh at 60 frames per second, he noted. "That's like phones a few years ago, so you want the same experience [as the phone] but at a much lower power."

But whether consumers give any of the watches the time of day remains to be seen. Even in the wake of the Apple Watch debut, a panel on wearables here concludedas so many do these daysthe killer product in wearables has yet to be designed.

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