Qualcomm is a global technology company specializing in telecommunications intellectual property (IP), including next-generation networks, smart devices, semiconductors, and mobile processing capabilities.
Launched in 1985, Qualcomm’s innovation in telecommunications was central to the mobile phone revolution witnessed at the turn of the millennium. Through the evolution of 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE network technologies, the California-based company has become a dominant provider of systems on a chip (SoC), also known as embedded systems, for smartphones, tablets, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Qualcomm’s extensive research means its IP portfolio is in use across the globe for deploying and managing the latest mobile networks. With the adoption of 5G network technology, the telecommunications giant continues to build its intelligent infrastructure capabilities, including smart homes, cities, transportation systems, and vehicles relying on sensor communication.
This article looks at the vendor’s products and solutions, competitors, clients, industry recognition, and more.
In this definition...
Qualcomm Products and Solutions
Qualcomm helps prospective clients by placing 400 products into two buckets, by technology, and application use cases. As industry-leading processors, many of the company’s chips share capabilities across these verticals.
|Products by Technology||Products by Application|
|Audio and Cameras
Industrial & Commercial
Smart Cities & Smart Homes
The heart of Qualcomm’s stack is its Snapdragon platforms, providing OEMs, companies, and individuals alike advanced digital experiences for extended reality (XR), mobile, industrial IoT (IIoT), and wearable applications.
Qualcomm Snapdragon is the company’s suite of systems on a chip based on the ARM RISC instruction set. Snapdragon chips power a large percentage of Android, Google, and Windows mobile devices and a universe of IoT and IIoT devices.
First introduced in 2013, there are now four series – 200, 400, 600, and 800 – of Snapdragon chips for a range of processing and application capabilities.
Latest Product Features
As Snapdragon chips share a bundle of features, this section looks at some features offered by Qualcomm products.
- Kryo CPU: enable high-performance mobile computing.
- Adreno GPU: engine for complex rendering and advanced mobile connectivity.
- Hexagon DSP: advanced imaging, vision, and sensor-based features.
- Streamboost: manages network traffic for optimizing device bandwidth.
- TrueSignal: antenna boost technology for improving network reliability and coverage.
- Mobile Security: ML-based malware detection for hardening mobile security.
- TrueWireless: enables the development of wireless earbuds.
- Clear Sight: hardware module using two cameras for enhanced image quality.
- Snapdragon Elite Gaming: advanced gaming features for mobile experiences.
- TruPalette: enhanced appearance and intelligent color adjustment for displays.
- aptX and cVc: enhanced audio and noise cancellation for wireless sound devices.
- IoT Connectivity: acts as a universal translator for interoperability in IoT networks.
- 802.11ax: next-generation performance for end-to-end Wi-Fi network needs.
Looking at specific products, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform features a long list of capabilities for artificial intelligence, 5G modern-RF systems, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, security, charging, and more.
Also read: Qualcomm and HPE to collaborate for 5G innovation | TechRepublic
Intellectual Property Portfolio
As a wireless technology pioneer, Qualcomm has an extensive research and development operation with over $75 billion invested since its inception. Across mobile experience technologies like radio frequency (RF), video compression, Wi-Fi, and AI, Qualcomm has over 140,000 pending and granted patents in 100 countries.
Today, the communications industry giant has over 150 licensing agreements for 5G technologies with every major device manufacturer. Through Qualcomm’s global licensing program, 16 billion devices use some portion of the company’s IP.
Qualcomm: Company Background
In 1985, a group of Linkabit employees and Irwin Jacobs met in San Diego, California, to start Qualcomm, shortened and combined from Quality Communications. Almost four decades later and the telecommunications giant has 45,000 employees across 170 offices in 30 countries.
Pioneer in Telecommunications
One of the startup’s earliest successes was successfully demonstrating the potential of the cellular transmission technology dubbed code-division multiple access (CDMA) in 1989. While industry players largely considered TDMA and FDMA in the late 1980s, the company proved CDMA could accommodate significantly more mobile customers in the same bandwidth.
Qualcomm’s contributions to the evolution of telecommunications include its IS-95 (cdmaOne) for 2G mobile devices and CDMA2000 for 3G mobile devices. Alongside global technology companies like Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia, and Huawei, Qualcomm continues to develop internationally recognized communication standards like LTE, 4G, and 5G networks.
Also read: Chip Designer Arm Aims for Dominance in 5G Networks | Enterprise Networking Planet
Growth, Acquisitions, and Financials
In 1991, Qualcomm backed up its innovations with a significant public investment through the company’s IPO (NASDAQ: QCOM). By the end of the decade, the telecommunications vendor was a bonafide technology player with $3.2 billion in revenues and over 6,000 employees.
In its four decades, the company made almost 50 acquisitions, including Flarion Technologies in 2005, Veoneer in 2018, and Nuvia in 2019. For 2021, the company reported annual revenues of $33.57 billion.
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