Posts Tagged ‘ Qualcomm ’

Analysis: Why Renesas is creating mobile IC spinoff

Analysis: Why Renesas is creating mobile IC spinoff.

Renesas Electronics’ decision to spin out its mobile semiconductor products into a separate subsidiary is motivated not only by the differences between the markets for microcontrollers and baseband chips, but also to help protect Renesas’ power amplifier business. SAN FRANCISCO—Renesas Electronics Corp. is spinning out its mobile semiconductor into a wholly owned subsidiary because of the markets formicrocontrollers and modem chips are worlds apart, and because executives want to improve the chances of its power amplifiers being designed into reference designs from other baseband suppliers, according to executives and market analysts.

Renesas, the leading vendor of microcontrollers and the third lagest chip company by revenue, said last week it would spin off its mobile chip unit into a new subsidiary, Renesas Mobile Corp., effective Dec. 1. The products being spun out into the new subsidiary include the company’s Mobile Multimedia SoC Business Division and most of the wireless modem business that formerly belonged to Nokia Corp., which Renesas is set to acquire by Nov. 30.

The spinout announcement caught some people off guard because Renesas executives have spoken about the modem chip technology being critical to the company’s future success, and because the acquisition was widely hailed as a bold and aggressive move.

Will Strauss, principal analyst at Forward Concepts Inc., applauded the spinout announcement. Setting up the wireless products in a different business makes sense because the market for wireless chips is such a dramatically different market than Renesas’ core microcontroller business, Straus said. Whereas many microcontrollers are marketed for years to industrial, automotive and other markets, wireless technology is changing so fast that products can become obsolete within a year, he said.

“It’s a good move,” said Strauss, adding that he was also impressed with the speed of Renesas’ operational execution.

Dan Mahoney, president and CEO of Renesas’ U.S. unit, Renesas Electronics America Inc., said the primary reasons for the move were the fast-moving nature of the mobile communications market and the fact that the new unit has the potential to help Renesas with its top-line objective of growing sales outside of Japan. Renesas’ corporate strategy includes a clear directive to by 2012 increase revenue from outside of the Japanese market to 60 percent of the company’s total from 45 percent at the time of the merger between NEC Electronics and Renesas Technology which formed the company.

But a second, equally compelling reason for the move, according to Mahoney is that Renesas’ important power amplifier business depends on the company having its power amplifiers incorporated into reference designs created by baseband chip vendors such as Qualcomm Inc. These suppliers might feel more comfortable sharing technical information with Renesas with the “firewall” of Renesas’ own baseband chip business residing in a separate company, Mahoney said.

Strauss said the strategy makes sense. Baseband suppliers would feel more comfortable doing business with Renesas because it will have “arm’s length” separation from its baseband business.

Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group, said baseband suppliers like Qualcomm would probably try to avoid incorporating Renesas’ parts in their reference design if they can even with the spinout because they would still view Renesas as a baseband competitor.
Gwennap described the spinout as more of a marketing move, with a goal of giving more visibility and branding for Renesas’ mobile products. While U.S. and European companies typically spin out businesses into subsidiaries largely in preparation to sell them, Japanese companies are structured differently and tend to have a lot of subsidiaries that are wholly owned, he said.

Gwennap said Renesas is making some aggressive moves, particularly for a Japanese company, because Japanese companies in general are not known for marketing. “They are making some moves that you wouldn’t expect from a Japanese company,” Gwennap said. “But at the same time, this is kind of just marketing 101 for an American or European company.”

Renesas is making a huge push into the mobile space, Gwenapp said. The company has the potential to be a significant player based on the strength of the Nokia technology, he said, but the company lacks legacy products and key relationships that competitors already have.

“They are just at the very beginning of what they need to do become a major worldwide player in the market,” Gwenapp said. “They have a long way to go and it’s kind of late in the game for them to break in. 3G is pretty well set. What Renesas is hoping is that they can take advantage of the 3Gg to 4G transition to break into the market.”

Prior to acquiring the Nokia baseband unit, Renessas was becoming a bigger supplier to Nokia of other parts, primarily power amplifiers and RF transceivers, Strauss said. Renesas viewed the baseband acquisition as a way to solidify its relationship with Nokia and “get a bigger slice of the pie,” Strauss said. Acquiring the unit also gave Renesas the opportunity to market the technology to other customers besides Nokia, he said.

Mahoney said the Renesas Mobile spinout came out of the “100-day plan” developed by Renesas President Yasushi Akao, but that the company was not ready to disclose it until last week. During Renesas’ recent developers’ conference, Akao said that while some aspects of the 100-day plan had already been made public, other aspects would be forthcoming.

Renesas said that more than 75 percent of Renesas Mobile employees would be based outside of Japan.


Qualcomm’s Not a Shoe-In at Apple – TheStreet

Qualcomm’s Not a Shoe-In at Apple – TheStreet.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Qualcomm (QCOM) is in the running for a slot in the next Apple(AAPL) iPhone, but reports of a victory could be greatly exaggerated.

Apple appears to be lining up its field of parts suppliers for the iPhone 5 due out next year, and Qualcomm may be in the mix. A report by Taipei’s Economic Daily News Thursday cited by AppleInsider suggests that Qualcomm may provide the so-called baseband or wireless communications chips for the iPhone 5 and a new version of the iPad.

The reports helped send Qualcomm shares up 2.5% to $45.44 and knocked down chip shop Cirrus Logic(CRUS) 8% in Thursday morning trading.

While it’s no doubt certain that Qualcomm is among the field of designated suppliers for the upcoming LTE 4G version of the iPhone, it’s very likely that the primary vendor has yet to be chosen, say analysts familiar with Apple’s bake-off contests.

Infineon’s(IFX) wireless unit, which agreed to be acquired by Intel(INTC) a month ago, is the incumbent chip supplier to Apple’s iPhone and a leading candidate for the 4G job.

Also vying for the business is ST Ericsson, a 4G chip-making joint-venture between STMicro(STM) and Ericsson(ERIC).

If true to its track record, Apple will have a demanding list of feature requirements and prices to narrow the field to one primary vendor, say analysts.

The problem for Qualcomm is political.

The San Diego chip giant has been a key supplier to Motorola(MOT) and HTC for Google(GOOG) Android devices that compete against the iPhone.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor is also expected to be in some of Microsoft’s(MSFT) Windows Phone 7 devices coming next month, putting it squarely in the wrong camp.

The favorites in this race are Infineon and perhaps more attractively ST Ericsson, which is expected to be very eager to gain the iPhone design win and the primary supplier role, say analysts.

So while Qualcomm is certainly in the field, it’s doubtful to be the outstanding winner in Apple’s eye.

Apple to Use TSMC-Made Qualcomm Chips for iPhone, Daily Reports – Bloomberg

Apple to Use TSMC-Made Qualcomm Chips for iPhone, Daily Reports – Bloomberg.

Apple Inc. ordered Qualcomm Inc. baseband chips for the next versions of the iPhone and iPad, replacing Infineon Technologies AG, the Economic Daily News said, without saying where it got the information.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will make the chips for Qualcomm, the Taipei-based Chinese-language newspaper said.

Qualcomm’s Mirasol display stays small, for now

Qualcomm’s Mirasol display stays small, for now.

Peter Clarke

9/17/2010 5:42 AM EDT

LONDON – Qualcomm is focused on 5.7-inch diagonal and smaller applications for its Mirasol display right now, even though there is no technical reason why the technology could not address larger applications, according to Cheryl Goodman, director of marketing for Qualcomm MEMS Technologies.

On key stopping off point in display scaling has become the 9.7-inch size popularized by Apple with its iPad tablet computer, Goodman acknowledged.

“Qualcomm is super-connected to what’s happening in the mobile device where Mirasol can offset the problem of power consumption,” said Goodman. “First out will be a 5.7-inch e-reader.” Goodman said that rather than scaling to a larger sized display Qualcomm was likely to add smaller sizes tuned to the needs of the smartphone. The 5.7-inch display has a resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels at 220 pixels per inch.

The Mirasol technology, which Qualcomm (San Diego, Calif.) acquired in 2004, can save power as it is non-volatile, does not require a back-light and is reflective, making use of ambient light. However, by the same token the display could be seen as less intense and visually appealing than a saturated emmissive display, such as OLED (see Comment: Qualcomm’s MEMS display is smart but is it bright enough?)

Mirasol is based on a MEMS structure combined with thin film optics to create interferometric modulation. The color display is thin and bi-stable so that power is only consumed when changing the status of display. This has the disadvantage that grey-scale requires the application of spatial and temporal dithering. Nonetheless the display is capable of running video at 30-frame per second.

“It is difficult, challenging stuff,” said Goodman, adding “There’s no fundamental reason why the technology could not go larger [than 5.7-inch diagonal].”

Goodman acknowledged that Apple’s launch of the iPad had created a consumer appetite and expectation around the 9.7-inch display size. “We would be remiss if we didn’t investigate that.”

Qualcomm has a dedicated Mirasol 4.5-generation display fab in Taiwan set to deliver in volume in 4Q10 so Mirasol displays are expected to turn up in products in 1H11. A year previously the e-reader design win was expected to deploy in fall 2010.

Goodman declined to comment on reports that Qualcomm is looking to spend as much as $2-billion to build a follow-on display fab.

Comment: Qualcomms MEMS display is smart but is it bright enough?

Comment: Qualcomms MEMS display is smart but is it bright enough?.

Peter Clarke

11/24/2009 11:32 AM EST

LONDON — Last week I was able to look at examples of the Qualcomm MEMS display, known as Mirasol.

I saw small monochrome displays in cell phones and a 5.3-inch full-color unit, posing as an e-reader display. It is a nice looking and technically elegant piece of work. It is a thin, bi-stable, reflective display that therefore theoretically only needs power for changing the image. And it is available in full color with spatial dithering of sub-pixels to provide grey-scale.

A 5.3-inch diagonal full-color Mirasol display

It uses ambient light rather than a backlight, which is its main source of its power saving. Liquid crystal displays after all use a powerful backlight and electro-optic shutters to prevent more or less of the light getting through the panel. The use of ambient light is good outdoors, where LCDs perform badly, but does mean that in low-light conditions the display is hard to read, just like it is hard to read from paper when the lights are out. Qualcomm’s solution is an occasional-use front light.

So what is not to like about this “green” full-color display?

Such a display obviously has great potential in mobile applications where power consumption and battery life are key issues. Depending on the application, a bi-stable non-volatile display can more than halve power consumption in applications such as a smart phone or an e-reader.

However, Qualcomm documentation illustrates a Mirasol scheme that uses spatial dithering to achieve only 3-bits of grey scale or 512 colors. It discusses the addition of temporal dithering to extend the grey-scale to 6-bits per primary color pixel. This gives 64 levels for each of the red, green and blue sub-pixels or a total of 256-k colors. But such a scheme would require the pixels to be continually moving and therefore consuming power.

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc. commissioned a report by Pike Research LLC (Boulder, Colo.) which found that a mobile device using an IMOD (interferometric modulator display), such as Mirasol, would consume 33.7 percent less energy compared with a similar mobile device that uses a conventional LCD display. However, this was based on a 2.4-inch to 2.8-inch diagonal display and it is not clear whether it took into account any temporal dithering of the display. The report goes on to give extensive “green” and sustainable characteristics to the IMOD display.
Sticking point
But for me there is one sticking point that could inhibit take up of the Mirasol display. It is more to do with human behavior and preferences than technology, and the Pike Research report does touch upon it.

“Pike Research estimates that reflective display technology could capture greater than 20 percent market share in mini-display sizes between 2.5 and 10 inches over the next five years with an increasing percentage over time if the operational characteristics of the displays are perceived, first by OEMs and then by potential customers, as equivalent to an LCD,” the report states — but the italics are mine.

My experience is that the Mirasol display is nice to look at but nowhere near as impactful as a backlit liquid crystal display. Qualcomm claims Mirasol displays offer reflectivity on the order of 50 percent and contrast ratios greater than 8:1. It, of course, consumes far less power than a backlit LCD, but the eye does not see that.

So a big challenge for Qualcomm is that many consumer buying decisions are made not in the head as the result of trading off power consumption versus readability metrics but in the heart after seeing a glossy presentation slide across a display. Except for the most ardent of eco-warriors, most consumers expect the battery life of their toys and gadgets to be significantly improved WITHOUT reducing the brightness and attractiveness of the display. And liquid crystal displays have set the bar high.

And the designers and creators of mobile phone and netbook computer specifications know this and, on many occasions, will select the display technology that gives them the best chance of making that heart-led sale. On the other hand, if you are an eco-warrior your heart will seek out the low-power solution. – Qualcomm brews plan to boost struggling lines – Qualcomm brews plan to boost struggling lines.

SAN DEIGO — Qualcomm Inc. is currently riding high amid strong demand–and constraints– for its traditional cell-phone chip products.

During the company’s Uplinq developers’ forum here this week, Qualcomm, based here, launched a number of new initiatives for many of its lesser-known products. But some of those wares–such as its Brew operating software (OS) technology, the MediaFlo mobile TV line and Snapdragon chip products–are either lagging or losing steam.

The company also hopes to jumpstart–and generate some new business–for its embryonic efforts in 3-D chips, augmented reality, MRAM, peer-to-peer and other newfangled technologies.

Qualcomm is rushing into new markets for good reason: It needs some new engines for growth beyond its traditional cell-phone chipset business. That has not been easy, as it is struggling to expand beyond its core market.

For example, Qualcomm may unload or restructure its ownership in MediaFlo amid lackluster sales, according to reports at Uplinq. On the IC side, Qualcomm has been shipping Snapdragon, a chip line for mobile Internet devices (MIDs). Snapdragon is gaining some traction in limited smartphone designs, but the chip is ”late to the party’’ and behind Texas Instruments Inc. and others in the MID chip space, said Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts Co.

Another concern is Brew, Qualcomm’s software platform that is billed as an OS for mobile devices. Some see a shakeout in the mobile OS world and Brew could be on the outside looking in–or one of the losers–especially as the development community embraces its rivals, such as Apple’s iOS, Android, among others. Brew is still viable and has generated a lot of traction, ”but only in CDMA,’’ Strauss said.

However, the tide is turning in favor of Brew, said Paul Jacobs, president and chief executive of Qualcomm. ”We’re getting a lot more support’’ for Brew, Jacobs told EE Times in a brief interview. AT&T, China Telecom, Korea Telecom, Verizon and others have endorsed or renewed their efforts with Brew, he said.

In another positive development, Qualcomm’s cell-phone chip business is robust right now. ”There is a lot of demand,’’ he said. ”We have supply constraints.’’

Qualcomm had a somewhat sluggish start in its 2010 campaign. In 2009, the company was ranked as the world’s sixth largest chip maker, up from eighth place in 2008, according to Gartner Inc. It had sales of $6.49 billion in 2009, down 1 percent over 2008.

But Qualcomm slide from eighth to 12th place in the rankings for the first quarter of 2010, according to iSuppli Corp. For some time, the average selling prices (ASPs) for Qualcomm’s baseband chips have fallen amid competition from Broadcom, Infineon, MediaTek and ST.

In the June quarter, the company has regained its momentum. Royalty revenues are up. And shipments for the company’s MSM cell-phone chip line is ”strong at 93 million (to) 100 million’’ units, up from 93 million in the previous period, said Mark McKechnie, an analyst with Gleacher & Co., in a report.

That’s not what worries analysts, carriers, developers and OEMS, however. Qualcomm will likely remain the leader in the baseband market. At Uplinq, many were likely having the same thoughts: What will happen to Brew, and, to a lesser degree, Snapdragon?

Brew was launched nearly a decade ago as a software programming platform for mobile devices. Earlier this year, Qualcomm rolled out Brew Mobile Platform (MP), which is said to be a ”mass-market mobile operating system platform.’’ Brew is apparently the software platform for 250 million mobile devices worldwide today, according to Qualcomm. In total, Brew has generated a total of some $3 billion worth of business.

”Brew MP is a low-end handset OS which, along with Qualcomm’s (chip) architecture, will target smartphone functionality at feature phone prices,’’ McKechnie described in his report.

But Brew is finding itself lost in the developers’ shuffle amid the sudden craze for new and competitive offerings, such as Apple’s iOS and Android. Other mobile OS/software platforms include Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, HP/Palm’s Palm/WebOS and Nokia’s various OS offerings.

Qualcomm’s Jacobs sees a fragmentation in the mobile OS world. Others see a shakeout. This poses a problem—and an opportunity–for Qualcomm. The company’s chipset group not only supports Brew, but also Android, Blackberry, Palm, Windows and others.

Qualcomm’s chip group is software agnostic and it lets the customer decide which OS to support. Obviously, though, Qualcomm would prefer to sell and bundle Brew with its chipsets.

One big carrier, Verizon, has seen a meteoric rise for its sales and development activity in the Android camp. In contrast, the carrier has seen ”declines in our Brew revenues’’ over the last year, said John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon.

”The situation concerns us,’’ Stratton said during a keynote at Uplinq. “Is the Brew business worth saving? We are still committed to the Brew platform.’’

Still, there is an issue for Verizon and others: There are too many mobile OS offerings and carriers must make some tough choices and lay down ”the right bets,’’ he said.

Verizon claims to have 56 million devices in the field, which incorporate Brew. But for some time, Verizon’s efforts with Brew have been in a ”frozen state of animation,’’ he said.

To jumpstart Brew, Verizon Wireless this week rolled out an Open Catalog program for Brew, thereby enabling more applications for the OS technology. It will also help reduce developers’ time to market, while allowing them to market their applications directly to consumers.

Verizon has also reduced its porting and certification costs for Brew applications. It also made available for customers the so-called Xiam, which is Qualcomm’s recommendation engine for mobile devices. This is ”really a revitalization of the Brew experience for our customers,’’ he said.

To help its own cause, Qualcomm this week rolled out an application store to bring its Brew applications and services to consumers in open markets. The first application store will be managed by Sina, a Web portal in China.

The open market application store will provide Chinese consumers with access to a full range of paid and free content, apps and services for download, said Andrew Gilbert, executive vice president and president of Qualcomm Internet Services and Qualcomm Europe.

Meanwhile, another carrier, AT&T, also moved to jumpstart Brew. Earlier this year, it rolled out a line of mid-range handsets, dubbed Quick Messaging Devices, based on Brew. By year end 2011, about 90 percent of AT&T’s devices in this segment are planned to be based on Brew. AT&T announced that Samsung will be its first device maker to launch a Quick Messaging Device featuring Brew. HTC, LG and Pantech also are building Brew-based devices.

But in the same release, AT&T also announced plans to launch five new devices from Dell, HTC and Motorola–based on the Android platform. For its part, Taiwan handset maker HTC Corp. supports Brew on select devices in India, Singapore and the U.K., said Martin Booth, technical product manager for HTC’s U.S. subsidiary, based Bellevue, Wash.

For HTC, Brew is geared for ”lower-cost, entry-level devices,’’ he said. ”There is an opportunity for Brew in emerging markets.’’

But one of HTC’s best sellers is the Droid Incredible, a smartphone based on Qualcomm’s 1-GHz Snapdragon chip and Android. The smartphone is being offered by Verizon in the United States. ”It’s been a runaway hit,’’ Booth said. ”Android (enables) a richer, deeper smartphone.’’

HTC also sells other mobile devices based on Snapdragon. Qualcomm itself has been shipping the 1-GHz part for some time, mainly for smartphones. But as recently reported, Qualcomm has delayed a promised dual-core Snapdragon processor for smart books from 2009 until the second-half of 2010, according to a company executive.

The dual-core Snapdragon QSD8672 is based on two Scorpion cores. The Scorpion is itself a Qualcomm custom core compatible with the ARMv7 instruction set. The QSD8672 device was scheduled to be the first of a third generation of processors in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon family.

Qualcomm’s dual-core device is based on 45-nm technology. The next device, based on a 28-nm process, is supposed to tape-out this year, according to Qualcomm.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon ”has been shipping about a year,’’ said Forward Concept’s Strauss, but the company was actually ”late to the party’’ in this segment. Qualcomm claims Snapdragon has garnered 140 design wins, but Strauss said Snapdragon is really ramping in only five devices, mainly smartphones. This includes the mobile devices from Google, HTC and Toshiba.

Freescale, Intel, Marvell, Nvida, TI and others are pushing competitive chips. TI, for one, is ”outshipping (Qualcomm) in terms of units’’ in this space, he said. TI has garnered design wins in Motorola’s Android phones, as well as devices from Palm, Samsung, among others, he said.

So far, most of the overall chip shipments in the MID space involve high-end smartphones. With the exception of Apple Inc.’s iPad, the smart book, tablet and related segments ”are still developing,’’ said Raj Talluri, vice president of product management for application processors at Qualcomm.

For the MID segment, TI apparently sells an application processor, but not the baseband. In contrast, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon incorporates the baseband modem, a graphics engine, WiFi and other functions on the same device. This makes it a more compelling solution, added Mark Frankel, vice president of product management at Qualcomm.

And contrary to popular belief, Qualcomm claims it is gaining traction for Snapdragon. Qualcomm recently displayed a range of Snapdragon-based devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smart books. Snapdragon-powered devices include Acer’s Liquid and neoTouch smartphones, Dell’s Streak 5-inch Android tablet, HP’s Compaq Airlife 100 smart book, HTC’s Droid Incredible and Nexus One smartphones, Huawei’s S7 tablet and Lenovo’s LePhone smartphone.

In an effort to propel more designs, Jacobs during his keynote revealed a new development platform for Snapdragon. The platform includes a Snapdragon device, the MSM8655 cell-phone chipset and other features.

This week, Bsquare Corp., a software provider, announced it will offer a software development platform based on Qualcomm’s MSM8655 Snapdragon chipsets to the application developer community. This MSM8655-based Snapdragon mobile development platform–dubbed Snapdragon MDP–is expected to become available in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Initially Bsquare will offer the MSM8655-based Snapdragon MDP with Android, but models are also planned with other operating systems, including Brew MP.

The MSM8655-based Snapdragon MDP will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010 but can be pre-ordered immediately for $995 through Bsquare. With each purchase of a Snapdragon MDP, purchasers will also receive an 8-GB SD card, an HDMI cable, A/V, USB cable, battery charger, a Quick Start Guide and one hour of support from Bsquare.

Qualcomm wants to offer a one-stop shop for MIDs and handsets alike. Besides Snapdragon and development platforms, the company also provides the LCD screen. Last year, Qualcomm rolled a 5.3-inch full-color non-volatile MEMS-based display. The display features 1,024 by 768 pixel resolution and around 220 pixels per inch. The Mirasol technology, which Qualcomm acquired in 2004, does not require a back-light and is reflective.

Qualcomm is developing related technologies, which are in R&D. For example, it is working on 3-D devices based on through-silicon-via (TSV) technology. And a new and surprising player could soon invade the magnetic RAM (MRAM) industry: Qualcomm. And the cell-phone chip giant is getting help from one of its foundry partners: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC).

At various conferences in recent times, Qualcomm and TSMC have jointly presented papers on MRAM. The two companies also have been experimenting with spin transfer torque (STT) MRAM, and are working on a 32-megabit embedded memory solution at the 42-nm node, according to sources.

With the move, Qualcomm could be looking to grab more IP share of the cell-phone market. It is already a major player in the baseband segment. Now, it wants an embedded MRAM play, possibly turning the industry upside down.

Embedded MRAM could ”replace embedded SRAM plus NOR as well as embedded DRAM and NAND,’’ according to one source. Qualcomm ”is interested in MRAM because of its speed, power and non-volatility.’’

MRAM is a memory that uses the magnetism of electron spin to provide non-volatility. It is supposed to deliver the speed of SRAM with the non-volatility of flash in a single unlimited-endurance device. STT-RAM is a second-generation MRAM technology.

At Uplinq, meanwhile, Qualcomm also touted other technologies, many of which are just emerging from R&D. For some time, Qualcomm has been pushing augmented reality as possibly the ”next big thing” in mobile and other platforms.

”Augmented reality allows computer-generated content to be superimposed over a live camera view of the real world,” according to Qualcomm. ”The concept has seen growing interest among developers for its potential to create applications that are more intuitive and interactive.”

It is also based on computer vision technology recently acquired from Imagination Computer Services GmbH. Qualcomm moved to accelerate the technology by unveiling plans to offer an augmented reality platform and software development kit (SDK).

Toy maker Mattel Inc. is one of the first consumer products companies embracing augmented reality. It has used Qualcomm’s SDK to bring the classic Rock ’Em Sock ’Em game to the modern era. Additionally, Qualcomm has collaborated with leading game engine developer Unity Technologies in the arena. A beta version of the SDK will be available to developers this fall.

In addition, Qualcomm this week also talked about proximity-based peer-to-peer technology. This would enable various devices to directly sync with different networks without going through the central network. Qualcomm is devising technology based on software, which would be provided via an open source model, said Rob Chandhok, senior vice president of software strategy at the company. This in turn could open up the market for social networking, gaming and other technologies on mobile devices, he said.

Qualcomm’s multi-fold mobile device is the future we keep waiting for — Engadget

Qualcomm’s multi-fold mobile device is the future we keep waiting for — Engadget.

By Vladislav Savov posted Mar 15th 2010 6:01AM

Qualcomm isn’t typically in the business of producing consumer-facing hardware — the company prefers to just build the chips that make your devices go “vroom” — but we’ve come across a patent application that details just such an idea. The multi-fold mobile device can be seen as either a foldable tablet or an expandable cellphone, but in either case its purpose is clearly to act as a hybrid device that performs both roles. With all least two displays on its three panels, this concept will also automatically reconfigure its UI based on a folding configuration sensor, and Qualcomm suggests you might also use it as a widescreen TV display, an alarm clock, a media player, or a web browser. Click past the break for a couple more suggested use diagrams, and feel free to write to Qualcomm with demands that this be put into production pronto.