Qualcomm In New York: Bringing the Magic to Mobile

Posted by Rob Enderle

Qualcomm kicked off a big press event in New York this week and it was kind of amazing to see what the company showcased. Not only did Qualcomm have both the new Kindle Fire HDXs and the new Nokia Windows RT tablet on display, but also showed off a large number of phones in the phablet class from vendors like Nokia, LG and HTC. 

But what really took me aback was the amazing things that Qualcomm was able to do with its amazing Snapdragon technology.

360 Degree Photos

The most amazing demonstration was conducted with hundreds of HTC One phones placed in a double circle around a stage. Operating the phone’s cameras remotely, Qualcomm was able to capture a 360 view of acrobats performing in real time. At the touch of a button, the operators could freeze the image being shown in a 360 degree still frame and then spin the frozen image around in real time, showing all sides of the acrobat. This is something that typically requires a series of expensive cameras to pull off, yet Qualcomm managed it with just smartphones.   

Their reveal of the stage was almost magical, very OZ like if you remember the original movie, where the curtain surrounding the stage near instantly dropped revealing the acrobats and the huge smartphone set up.   

Orchestrated ARM Music

One of the big ongoing demonstrations was of musicians using a touch interface to provide the music using a Snapdragon powered touch table. Reminiscent of the old Surface Table Microsoft put into bars and hotels, this solution not only played amazing creations which were mixed in real time, it displayed graphics on a massive multi-screen display. This was fascinating to watch as the musicians, a young man and woman team, looked like they were playing air hockey as their arms were moving so fast and aggressively. And these seemingly random movements were producing a very pleasant, and contemporary set of tunes. I could imagine having this set up in a house and having kids torture their parents with it. Seriously, it looked like a ton of fun.   

Power of Snapdragon

The event was held to showcase the power of Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform which stands behind most of the halo and flagship phones coming to market this quarter.   This technology is what makes cameras in phones like the Nokia 1020 (which I used to take pictures at the event), an amazing 41 megapixel camera work.

Of the products shown I was particularly fond of the new Nokia line of Windows phones (I’ve been using one for years) and their new tablet. All had amazing cameras, came in a range colors, though my favorite color, blue, won’t be hitting the US. Well designed, amazing large screens (also powered by Snapdragon), and they consistently used standard USB charging plugs so one power supply could be used across the family and with non-Nokia devices as well.   

They were also talking about the new Kindle HDX tablets.  While I have the small tablet I wasn’t aware of how amazing the big one is. Larger screens in the Retinal class tend to slow down performance dramatically and the old large screen Kindle HD was noticeably pokey and it didn’t use Snapdragon. However, the new line is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800, their fastest chip, and it is impressively fast, particularly when compared to the older version. I’m actually a fan of the larger Kindle but have been disappointed in its performance. Apparently, I won’t be disappointed anymore.  

Wrapping Up:   A Slice of Amazing

It is a real treat to go to Qualcomm’s events because I have so many old Intel friends there, some I’ve known for years and they are some of the best and brightest from that company. At their event they did an amazing job and I’m such a fan of their little dragon commercial as well. We get so little magic at technology events these days that the magic Qualcomm brought this week touched me and I hope to see more of this in the future. Technology should always be this fun and magical and my personal thanks to Qualcomm for bringing that magic to this event.