5 things you don’t know about Qualcomm

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Qualcomm is known for making mobile chipsets. But Qualcomm does more than just producing chipsets.

To change your view for this tech giant, here are the 5 things you don’t know about Qualcomm:

1] GoPro pulled most of Qualcomm’s executives.

Several Qualcomm executives and engineers left the chipmaker to join GoPro camera company.

Jack Lazar, a former senior VP at Qualcomm, served as GoPro’s CFO from 2014 to 2016. His successor, Brian McGee, was previously the VP of business operations at Qualcomm Atheros. On the engineering side, senior Qualcomm engineers Stepan Moskovchenko and Anuradha Jagannath both took senior engineering positions at GoPro.

2] Qualcomm is a device according to Truckers.

Qualcomm’s first product was OmniTRACS satellite location and messaging service for trucking companies in 1985. As a result, truckers refer to the branded in-vehicle device — which tracks their locations and delivers messages between themselves, other truckers, and control centers — as a “Qualcomm”.

Qualcomm eventually sold the OmniTRACS business to Vista Equity Partners for about $800 million in 2013. However, truckers still call is “Qualcomm”.

3] Qualcomm lost key people to Intel.

Intel has never been able to catch Qualcomm in mobile industry. Intel finally quit making mobile processors. But before doing so, it attracted some high-profile executives from Qualcomm.

In 2014, Intel hired Qualcomm senior executive Amir Faintuch to guide its mobile and IoT businesses. The following year, it paid over $25 million to hire Qualcomm’s former co-president, Venkata “Murthy” Renduchintala, to lead its IoT and Systems Architecture group.

4] Qualcomm might pull GoPro from Ambarella.

These close connections between Qualcomm and GoPro might be related to the persistent rumors that GoPro could start using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs in its action cameras. That could deal a tough blow to Ambarella, which currently provides the image processing SoCs for GoPro cameras.

But for Qualcomm, that move would complement its gradual expansion away from smartphones toward adjacent markets like wearables, drones, connected cameras, and other Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets.

5] Qualcomm powers 80 percent of Android wear devices.

Qualcomm claims that its Snapdragon chips already power over 80% of all Android Wear devices worldwide. Its newer Snapdragon Wear chips are also optimized for lower-powered fitness trackers, smart headsets, and children’s smartwatches.

Qualcomm’s early dominance of this market could hurt Intel, which has been expanding its IoT business into the same wearable markets. It could also help Qualcomm further diversify away from its core mobile business.


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