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Summary:

Qualcomm’s executive chairman isn’t sure that virtual reality is the next big computing platform, but he’s not willing to get too judgy about the $2 billion Facebook paid for Oculus Rift.

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Implantable sensors, chips that mimic the brain and real-time biometric security that doesn’t involve something as active as a retinal scan: That’s the future that Qualcomm’s executive chairman Paul Jacobs laid out at the Rutberg Global Summit Wednesday in Atlanta.

Jacobs said Qualcomm is testing a device that is smaller than a grain of sand that can can tell you that within two weeks you’re going to have a heart attack. “Imagine getting that phone call,” said Jacobs. Such implantable sensors could test your blood chemistry, predict disease and also act as a unique marker to identify a person.

Anyone who saw Jacobs’ chat at CES would have felt at home, but it’s still a topic designed to get people excited about and help them identify with the future of the internet of things and mobility. Jacobs even tied in the acquisition of Oculus VR by Facebook by discussing whether or not virtual reality is the computing platform of the future.

Jacobs was a bit cautious about the idea that VR is the next big computing platform, bringing up the history of Second Life and questioning whether people will want to give up their face-to-face interactions. Like me, he’s worried about isolating people in front of screens, but he also said, “Maybe I’m just old.”

Either way, VR is good for Qualcomm because that kind of computing requires a lot of mobile processing power, which is a Qualcomm specialty. Jacobs ended with a pitch for Qualcomm’s plans to improve cellular networks, and some smart words of advice for the armchair quarterbacks who like to debate the cost of acquisitions.

Jacobs said that it’s not what you paid for a deal, it’s what the CEO does with it. He expressed confidence that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a clear vision for this deal and others. Judging by his caution about virtual reality as the next huge computing platform, Jacobs probably wouldn’t have paid $2 billion, but he wasn’t about to say Zuck paid too much.

A previous headline for this story referred to Paul Jacobs as Qualcomm’s CEO. He is the company’s executive chairman.

  1. First he’s not CEO anymore and second VR is not the next big thing,glasses are, will take a while before Oculus and Google Glass like products merge into one but that’s the big thing.

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    1. This is fixed, thanks.

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