LAS VEGAS – Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) CEO Paul Otellini is expected to tout the company’s mobile processor technologies and road map during his keynote at the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show here Jan. 10.
But this isn’t the desktop market, and Intel is going to have to go through Qualcomm first. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs reinforced why his company is the world’s leading mobile chipset maker-with more than 7 billion chipsets in the market-during his own keynote speech, which formally kicked off CES this morning.
Jacobs noted that the Snapdragon chipsets, which incorporate the CPU and GPU on one silicon wafer, have rolled out in more than 300 devices, with another 350 in the works. The bulk of these devices are Android smartphones and tablets. Jacobs said Qualcomm is providing reference designs or blueprints Android OEMs can use to create new handsets and tablets.
Android OEMs are major purchasers of Qualcomm chipsets, but many of these same OEMs are also outfitting their other handsets with the mobile chips. Now for some trivia: Did you know all Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 7 smartphones are powered by Snapdragon chips? You do now.
Jacobs proudly reminded the audience of this fact, and called on Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who oversaw a bold bet to embrace Windows Phone 7 last year, to discuss the companies’ relationship. Nokia introduced the Lumia line in October, and the company just unveiled the Lumia 900 from AT&T at CES Jan. 9, and said T-Mobile would sell the Lumia 710 this month.
Nokia is also tapping into developing markets, focusing on low-cost smartphones in China, India, Brazil, Australia and other nations to “introduce the next 1 billion people to the Internet.”
“Nokia understands developed markets,” Elop said. “Nokia also understands the emerging markets. Together with our partner Qualcomm, we are developing products that will meet the unique needs of different markets around the world.” Elop also promised the two companies would offer North American developers a gateway to the rest of the world.
Elop’s appearance to pump up Windows Phone 7 on its Lumia handsets should help raise the profile of those gadgets, something that is sorely needed for WP7 to gain traction.
Qualcomm is also preparing its next-generation Snapdragon S4 chipset to launch on phones, tablets and smart TVs later this year.
Jacobs said the S4 chips will basically be home theater systems unto themselves, driving high-definition 3D video and Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound. Jacobs showed off the S4 running on a Qualcomm prototype tablet running the Windows 8 operating system, a user experience that looks to be fast and efficient.
Lenovo Senior Vice President Liu Jun followed with a demo of a Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich-based smart TV from running the S4. The voice-controlled set is launching in China this year
Meanwhile, just how important are the emerging markets?
Jacobs said merging countries represent 80 percent of the global population and will account for 50 percent of global gross domestic product by 2014. Moreover, China, which already has 300 million mobile users, or as many mobile users as the U.S. has people, will surpass 1 billion wireless connections this year.
Finally, by 2015, half of all smartphones are expected to ship to emerging markets. Expect Qualcomm technology to be incorporated in most of those devices, leaving Samsung, Intel and others to compete for the rest.