Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm, Code Conference

Asa Mathat


While Intel, Microsoft and BlackBerry are all aiming to seize on the “Internet of Things” after largely missing out on mobile, the winners in the phone market have no intention of missing out on the next big thing.

“I think a lot of it will borrow the smartphone technology almost directly,” Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said in an interview shortly after his appearance onstage at the Code Conference.

And Mollenkopf said the things that made Qualcomm strong in phones — top-notch modem technology, power management and experience with all the major operating systems — will serve it well.

“I think it is going to be difficult to come at it without a strong position in the phone, but people will try,” he said. Intel, for example, has made a big bet on small devices, creating its Quark line of chips as well as various other wearable projects, including a “smart shirt.”

Qualcomm dipped its toe into making its own wearable device with last year’s Toq smartwatch. But Mollenkopf said the purpose was to show off its Mirasol screen technology and other homegrown components that might be well suited for wearables.

“We learned a lot of things,” Mollenkopf said. Nonetheless, don’t expect a Toq 2.

“We’re not well outfitted to really go into the end-consumer play,” he said. “We experiment every once in a while, in some cases just to convince people that they should do it. We’re an enabler more than anything else.”

It’s not clear, though, that Qualcomm has managed to convince anyone to adopt Mirasol, which offers some of the benefits of E-Ink while also being able to display colors and video. “There’s certainly an opportunity there,” Mollenkopf said.

Mollenkopf said he is keeping an eye on whether continued investment in Mirasol makes sense.

“It is going slower than what we originally thought,” he said. “But it is an area we are evaluating. We are always looking at projects as to whether they still have legs going forward.”

Peter Fretty
Peter Fretty

There are plenty of opportunities for everyone, especially since the real focus should be on the people, data and processes that make the things worthwhile -- something Cisco makes quite clear in defining the Internet of Everything. It's how organizations leverage this network of interconnected items that will ultimately define success. 

Peter Fretty


I'll believe it (that Qualcomm and Intel want to be players in the IoT) when I see SoCs from them that cost $5, or even more likely, $2.  These devices aren't going to use $100 or $50 or even $20 chips.  When these two companies have a management mindset that understands and embraces inexpensive silicon, maybe they can start selling devices that power end-products that cost less than $300.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 300,858 other followers