Tag Archives: Snapdragon

Oh, you mean a Maxwell Smart home

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“Chaos is an opportunity for people like me,” said Tom Kadlec, one of the founders of The Homeworks Group. They do the hard work of integrating and managing home automation systems for about a thousand subscribers. Both he and his partner have electrical engineering degrees, which is great for them but not so good for the home handyman who majored in, say, political science.

Come quick, 99. I’m surrounded by ARMed phones.

Protocol agnostic and easy to use: home automation needs heavy helpings of both if it’s to ever find its secret sauce. And the industry doesn’t seem to be much closer to solving it than it was a year ago. The missing piece is still a universal, consumer friendly gateway/hub device that can tie together different products using different protocols.

Last Thursday evening, the Wireless Communications Alliance rolled a discussion about home automation into its annual holiday party. Hosted by Qualcomm, the event featured four experts from different corners of the industry: two semiconductor makers, a market intelligence analyst and a custom installer.

“Our industry is based on a promise to solve all the problems,” IDC‘s Michael Palma admitted. “A lot depends on the service providers.” Gianluca Viale, from Renesas, offered patience rather than a solution, saying whatever it is, the silicon will still be there to support it whenever it happens.

Fabrice Hoerner, senior manager of technical marketing at Qualcomm, said they’re working on combining “multiple smarts:” smart connectivity, smart gateways, smart devices and a smart cloud.

“Everyone is building their own gateway, but there is an opportunity to bring some of them together,” Hoerner said. “If there is money to make, the industry will adjust to this potential.”

Maybe. But so far, home automation chaos has eighty-sixed home control.

Qualcomm’s Jacobs fills CE thought leader gap

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Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs presented a vision of the future for the consumer electronics industry this morning, as he opened the first official day of the show with a thought provoking keynote.

The core of that future is mobile services and technology. “All consumer electronics business are either in the mobile business or soon will be”, said Jacobs.

This mobile transformation is most pronounced in the developing world, according to Jacobs. Emerging markets are increasingly mobile-centric. The developing word’s share of the smart phone market is growing, and will soon hit the 50% mark. Mobile technology will be the biggest driver of growth in the years ahead.

Mobile networks are frequently the only way that people in emerging countries can access the Internet. A Grameen Foundation initiative funded in part by Qualcomm, PT Ruma, began by financing simple cell phones for women in Indonesia, who in turn built a small business by selling phone calls on a per minute basis to others in their villages. But it quickly turned into a smart-phone based, data centric business model because of the growing demand for information services, even in the world’s poorest places.

“Our goal is to enable better phones for every market at the lowest price possible”, said Jacobs, setting a sub-$150 target for smartphones that can address this demand and announcing a Qualcomm initiative to develop reference designs for emerging markets.

Jacobs balanced his keynote time between talking about using technology to promote growth and better lives in the developing world and promoting Qualcomm’s newest products. He talked about the next generation Snapdragon S4 processor which is aimed at the television and ultra-compact laptop segments, as well as mobile phones. Jacobs also shared the stage with partners such as Nokia and Lennovo, keeping the product pitches low key and focused on consumer benefits.

It was a good example of how to use a keynote opportunity to say something meaningful about how the CE industry can make the world a better place, while at the same time positioning a company’s brand and delivering a couple of pointed, tactical marketing messages.