Qualcomm’s new CEO: it’s all about mobile until we can mimic the brain

qualcomm ceo

Qualcomm’s incoming CEO and President Steve Mollenkopf shared his view of the company’s opportunities at a press Q&A at CES in Las Vegas Monday, and the one theme that he kept coming back to was mobile as a driver for computing across devices. “Innovation from mobile is bleeding into adjacent industries,” Mollenkopf said, adding that products in spaces like consumer electronics, wearables, and even cars benefit from technologies that are being developed for mobile, as well as from consumer demand that’s driven by mobile experiences.

Mollenkopf gave Apple some credit for being a company that has been doing this particularly well, getting consumers hooked on mobile apps that they then want to also use on the iPad. That prompted some critical questions about Qualcomm’s success in the tablet space, where Android-based devices that are powered by Qualcomm processors have had less success than Apple’s iPad. However, Mollenkopf pointed to the Kindle Fire HDX and the Nexus 7 as success stories, adding that tablets will be big for Qualcomm going forward.

A few journalists in the audience asked Mollenkopf about plans to launch ARM-based server products, which he dodged, saying that Qualcomm hasn’t announced any products in this space. However, Mollenkopf used the opportunity to once again go back to his mobile theme, saying that if Qualcomm was going to go into the server space, mobile features like low power consumption would come in handy.

Instead of announcing server products, Mollenkopf talked about the next step for computing, which he said would be to model processors after the human brain. “We haven’t changed the fundamental architecture of the computer for a long time,” he said, adding that there still is a big gap between what technology allows people to do today and what people can do in science fiction. Bridging that gap through new types of processors “feels like a  Qualcomm project,” he said.

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