CHIP DESIGNER Qualcomm's CEO Dr Paul Jacobs has set his company's sights on developing nations and emerging markets.
Speaking at his keynote address at CES, Jacobs said that the company expects more than half of smartphone sales to come from emerging markets by 2015.
Much of that growth is expected to come from China, where Qualcomm estimates some 300 million people now rely on mobile devices as their primary source for internet access. Additionally, Qualcomm has identified India, Brazil and Southeast Asia as target markets.
To help serve those markets, Jacobs said the company has undertaken programmes to help build local economies, such as providing tablets to local schools and selling mobile phones to entrepreneurs who then rent out minutes and data access to other residents.
While such mobility campaigns have been around for years through charitable efforts, Qualcomm also sees the programmes as helping to build a customer base in rapidly expanding markets.
"Mobile will be one of, if not the biggest driver of innovation and growth in years ahead," Jacobs said.
"For many people mobile is the primary way they connect to the internet, and for some in emerging countries it is the only way."
One key component to that strategy will be Qualcomm's Snapdragon chip. That mobile processor chip combines a multi-core ARM CPU with a GPU to provide a complete low-power processor for mobile devices.
While the Snapdragon processor has primarily seen deployment in high-end smartphones, Qualcomm soon expects the chip to make its way into a full range of phones, tablets and netbooks. The company estimates that some 350 Snapdragon devices, ranging from low-cost to high-end systems, are presently in development.
Jacobs also expects Snapdragon's reach to grow with the upcoming release of the ARM-compatible Windows 8 and the Snapdragon S4 chipset.
"Snapdragon S4 will drive the next gen of smart devices," declared Jacobs. "It is going to be powering your smartphone, your TV and your ultra-portable notebook." µ