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Qualcomm Unleashes APIs on LTE

Sarah Thomas

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

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12/5/2012 | 5:29:09 PM
re: Qualcomm Unleashes APIs on LTE

The problem with this though, all the high-end phones don't use Qualcomm and the reason is simple, the Qualcomm chips are junk.  Qualcomm has long history and trying to dominate the market and implementing proprietary technology.  When CDMA was first released, they had the phones and the chips.  Ask the other phone manufacturers how much their chips were.  They struggled to make margins; a little hard to compete when your competitor is the one selling you the chip and also producing phones.  The handset could easily be a loss leader or have slim margins as they made a lot on the chips.


So why would a developer want to use API’s that would only work on some Android handsets?  Qualcomm even tweaks the ARM cores and do non-standard things with it.

12/5/2012 | 5:29:08 PM
re: Qualcomm Unleashes APIs on LTE

I'd say Snapdragon chips are in a LOT of high-end handsets actually. Right up there with Nvidia's Tegra 3. This does contribute to Android's fragmentation problem, but it doesn't mean apps built for Snapdragon won't work on other Android phones, they just won't be as full featured. I don't think that's a deal breaker. 

It seems that it would've made sense for Qualcomm to release the SDK for Windows Phone though, since it's exclusive there. No frag problems, and it has it ready right when the OS is ready rather than much later.

12/5/2012 | 5:29:08 PM
re: Qualcomm Unleashes APIs on LTE

They still think, we are all Stoopid. We fall for this shiete. They think, we actually fall for this Lame Hype Sheit......

I can't help but gag, when I read this crap: "Qualcomm has "unleashed" (gag) a new set of  (uh) Android API's that, it says, "will let developers tap into the Phone's VERY CORE - gasp! The Processor!!!!

What crocking Bull Marketing Shiet. What? Do you think, we let the Battery execute our code before? All code was going through the CPU before. If Qualcomm was coding crappy before, and now they finally learned how to code efficiently, they turn that Lame Shiet into News!


What a Bunch of Losers.!


Uh., and :  "Considering that the next batch of smartphones will run on wireless operators' Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, that's an exciting proposition."

Holy Sheit! You mean to tell me, their crap will actually run on a Mobile Network, ahem, not the Slow one, but the Faster one?


/ I feel sorry for Qualcomm, and their Sorry Bunch of NitWit Amateurs, from Coders to Marketing Fruitcakes...

/ Reporting by Karl Schon, The unemployed, pessimistic and annoyed Programmer.


12/5/2012 | 5:29:07 PM
re: Qualcomm Unleashes APIs on LTE

Samsung and HTC usually only use Qualcomm for low-end or cases where LTE is required.  Ti and Nvidia are where they go for high-end.  Samsung has even used Ti in some of their flagship phones.  Qualcomm is usually pretty low on the performance charts.  Qualcomm doesn't play nice with others compared to say the like of Ti where you can mix and match various parts to get what you want.  Qualcomm locks the manufacturer to use their (Qualcomm) various bits and pieces whereas the others do not.  Qualcomm sells baseband processors and good luck getting them to work with a processor from someone other than Qualcomm or to use their processor with a baseband from someone else.  Take Ti, they exited the baseband business and their OMAP line can work with baseband processors from others.  Samsung does the same as well.  Qualcomm is always looking to lock people in,  Using them to make a cheap phone makes sense which is also why Microsoft went that way, lower BOM but the problem is, lower performance and a lot less flexibility plus their non-standard approach to various pieces.

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