LIVE FROM CES 2013: Qualcomm CEO Dr Paul Jacobs this evening stepped into the prestigious role of pre-show keynote opener and used the opportunity to showcase his company’s new ‘Born Mobile’ strategy while announcing the arrival of the latest Snapdragon 800 processors.
“This is the first time a mobile company has opened the consumer electronics show,” said Jacobs at the start of his appearance. Indeed, only Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates have previously opened the show, but it didn’t take long for the computing giant to grab a share of the limelight, as Ballmer made a surprise appearance onstage with Jacobs . Ballmer and Jacobs talked up the partnership between Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset and the new Microsoft Windows Phone platform, with Jacobs declaring that Microsoft itself has now adopted the ‘Born Mobile’ mantra.
The big news of the evening was Jacobs’ promise that the latest Snapdragon 800 series will be available in smartphones and tablets within the second half of this year. “Snapdragon 800 is the most advanced wireless processor ever built,” claimed Jacobs. “It’s the first super-premium processor for smartphones and tablets and delivers up to 75 percent better performance than previous processors.” Jacobs said the new processors will support LTE-Advanced, “fast enough to stream high-definition video… And as well as gaming it also supports ultra HD technology – that’s four times better than today’s 1080 HDTV offering.”
Elsewhere in the keynote Jacobs highlighted Qualcomm’s growing emergence as a more consumer-oriented brand, with the CEO inviting a diverse range of guests onstage from the worlds of film & television and sport (including movie director Guillermo del Toro, Star Trek actresses and even Sesame Street’s Big Bird).
On a more technical note, Jacobs warned of the mobile industry’s battle in providing capacity coverage despite an anticipated thousand-fold growth in data usage; “At Qualcomm we call it the 1000x challenge,” he said. And in an effort to help overcome these challenges Jacobs talked up the vendor’s efforts in the small cells market.
Other surprise guests included a video message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who took the opportunity to declare mobile as “a saviour for healthcare.” Jacobs emphasised Qualcomm’s focus on mobile healthcare, while the last highlight of the evening involved the appearance on stage of an ‘electric Rolls Royce’. Qualcomm is a big proponent of electric vehicles and touted its Qualcomm Halo car-charging initiative.