iPhone Turns Attention Toward Qualcomm’s Forte: Wireless
By Graves, Brad
Apple’s iPhone 3G has arrived, and mobile users have a date with data.
That’s a benefit that could spill over on Qualcomm Inc., even though the San Diego telecommunications giant has no chips on board the iPhone, and played only a supporting role in developing its technology.
The new iPhone, which downloads data faster than its predecessor, is a product of “amazing marketing” and the media have fallen in love with it, said David Wertheimer, executive director of the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California. The iPhone phenomenon “galvanizes support for content on mobile devices,” Wertheimer said.
Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs is on the record as saying Apple’s iPhone makes people think – think about their phones as data devices and not merely telephones, according to a spokeswoman.
Qualcomm has long advocated data service, or the mobile Internet, as a way for wireless network operators to increase revenue per subscriber.
With more support for data on mobile devices, network operators and chip manufacturers will win, Wertheimer said.
By Wertheimer’s reckoning, there is no perfect mobile device yet, and networks aren’t fast enough to stream content. Yet the iPhone and other devices in the category are moving in the direction toward “totally converged, easy to use multimedia devices,” he said.
And Wertheimer – who was previously president of Paramount Digital Entertainment, a division of Paramount Pictures Corp. – said that has the potential to change the way people are entertained in the future.
Qualcomm is the largest vendor of handset semiconductors in the world, according to Citi Investment Research, which initiated coverage of the company July 8 with a “buy” rating. The company not only makes chips, but licenses technology found in chips. It has patents on the technology inside all 3G phones.
That includes the 3G microchips that drive the iPhone. Not a single chip inside the iPhone comes from Qualcomm.
However, some key telecommunication chips in the iPhone come from Germany-based Infineon Technologies AG. Qualcomm will receive royalties from the technology aboard Infineon chips, and therefore royalties from iPhone sales.
Qualcomm offers multimedia capabilities in its chips. But Apple, the maker of the iPod music and video player, is already very strong in multimedia, said Francis Sideco, senior analyst with iSuppli, a market research firm in El Segundo.
Apple really only needed help with the wireless communications part of the equation, Sideco said.
Copyright San Diego Business Journal Jul 28, 2008
(c) 2008 San Diego Business Journal. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.