Qualcomm looks beyond cell phones

By Wang Xing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-12-10 07:59
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BEIJING - Qualcomm Inc said on Thursday that it plans to expand its business outside the cell phone market, as the popularity of mobile devices, such as tablet computers and portable gaming devices, is expected to provide huge opportunities for the US cell phone chip maker.

The remark may put Qualcomm in direct competition with traditional computer chip makers, such as Intel and AMD, who have also been trying to expand their business into the mobile market.

Cristiano Amon, senior vice-president of Qualcomm, said in an interview with reporters in Beijing that the company sees increased demand from traditional computer makers for high-efficiency and low-energy consumption chipsets as computers become more mobile.

He said the company's revenue from China is expected to grow rapidly as more domestic cell phone makers and computer makers launch mobile devices.

Technological advances have blurred the line between cell phones and portable computers. With the increasing popularity of tablet computers, major computer chip makers have launched new products that target the mobile sectors.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said at a technology conference in San Francisco recently that Intel will launch its chips for "premier" smartphones starting next year.

However, Amon said Qualcomm will expand into the computer industry "much earlier" because the company has a greater understanding of the tough mobile market, in which low power consumption and mobile connectivity is paramount.

He also said China is becoming an important market for mobile devices as more Chinese consumers are starting to use 3G services.

According to figures from research firm IDC, shipments of mobile devices are expected to surpass those of personal computers in the next 18 months. The research firm predicted that sales of mobile devices will reach 462 million units by 2012 while sales of personal computers are expected to reach 448 million units.