The rise of Qualcomm

I read an article on EETimes this morning about Qualcomm’s new display technology. This is very similar to E-Ink’s display in that it needs no external backlight. If you have had a chance to see any of these displays you will notice how
similar it is to reading a newspaper. Up until now, there was a lot of buzz about Amazon’s Kindle (seen above). However the limitation of this technology was that it could only display black & white. While this is sufficient for reading books, I believe the future still belongs to a web pad that can do more than display static content.
With Qualcomm’s announcement of the miraSol technology it appears colour displays with XGA resolutions, capable of 30fps video are on their way. This can potentially be a game changer.

If there is one silicon vendor that is well poised to take on the might of Intel it would be Qualcomm. They seem to have invested in the right technologies and more importantly seem to have come up with products at the right time.
Qualcomm’s wireless (3G) prowess needs little discussion. However their foray into mobile TV (MediaFlo) appears to be getting a new lease of life after a bad start a few years ago (riding the online video wave). They seem to have cracked the mobile SOC solution with a 1GHz processor capable of rendering Flash 10 content. The Gobi (SDR) 3G broadband solution for notebooks will pay off since it can handle multiple new technologies. And now this – the display.

The display will enable thin & light mobile designs that will stay powered on battery for weeks. Moreover, a 30fps display will reduce the motion artifacts on videos. The lack of a backlight will significantly reduce eye fatigue. All good news for this segment.

With the above solutions Qualcomm seems to be well placed to cover every aspect of a mobile device save the case & keyboard. They have a solution for the processor, wireless access & the display. All of which are cutting edge.

I am a admirer of 3 companies in the semiconductor business – Broadcom, nVidia & Qualcomm. While Broadcom has the  processor and the wireless capabilities to match Qualcomm, I believe Qualcomm with this display technology has an edge. nVidia still has not been able to break away from its graphics niche, but will soon need to, to stay in the race.

Lets see how this plays out in the months to come.

Stay tuned…

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