Qualcomm Unleashes APIs on LTE
3:20 PM -- Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) has unleashed a new set of Android APIs that, it says, will let developers tap into the phone's very core -- the processor -- to add functionality we've yet to see on smartphones.
Considering that the next batch of smartphones will run on wireless operators' Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, that's an exciting proposition.
Ahead of its annual Uplinq Developers' Conference, which starts Wednesday, Qualcomm released its Snapdragon software development kit (SDK) for Android phones (initially those running the Snapdragon S4 8960 processor).
The SDK gives developers access to APIs (application programming interfaces) that tightly integrate with the processor, enabling them to build apps that are location- and network-aware, and (hopefully) even more fun than today's offerings. (See Qualcomm Launches Snapdragon SDK for Android .)
New features out-the-gate include facial processing (or smile and blink detection for group shots), burst capture (to take a stream of pictures and select the best), surround sound and improved echo cancellation and sensor gestures. The SDK also includes lower-power geofencing functionality and improved indoor location, highlighting the focus -- of the show and the industry in general -- on location-based apps.
The SDK is initially for Android, but tightly integrated apps will be especially important for competing OS, Windows Phone. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) unveiled its Windows 8 update last week, and Qualcomm is the exclusive chipset partner with its Snapdragon S4-Plus processor. Microsoft is promising high-end games ported from the PC, as well as apps that work in tandem across both platforms.
And, integrating with Qualcomm at the chipset level means that developers can build these types of apps for LTE speeds, precise location accuracy and with less concern about battery life than on previous smartphones. (See Windows Phone 8 Gets 'Common Core'.)
Given the advancements in the wireless network, mobile hardware and SDKs, it's never been a better time to be a developer. And Qualcomm has a history of showing us the most advanced mobile apps -- think augmented reality, 3-D and massive multi-player games -- and this year should be even more impressive with LTE on the backend.
LR Mobile is heading to San Diego for the conference and will be on the look out for apps that master the combo of hardware, software and LTE. Check back to the site for more this week, and let us know what questions you have for Qualcomm in the message boards below.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile