Company Name: Qualcomm, Inc.
How the OHA site classifies them: Semiconductor Company
What the OHA site says about them: Qualcomm Incorporated is a leader in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communications products for advanced devices around the world.
What they do: Their wikipedia page describes them as a “wireless telecommunications research and development company”. Initially this line of work saw them releasing satellite locating and messaging services for long-haul truckers and various little bits n’ pieces of integrated whatsits for digital radio communications.
They hit their stride with CDMA technologies, however. As inventors of CDMAOne, CDMA 2000, and 1xEV-DO they have consistently been at the forefront the field. They are the code division multiple access ninjas. They’ve ridden their prowess all the way up to being one of the top ten semiconductor companies in the world.
Along the way, they developed BREW, the application development platform for handsets, bought naming rights for a stadium in San Diego, helped develop the Globalstar satellite system, and got their butts sued (and lost) over infringing patents held by fellow OHA-er Broadcom.
They also, interestingly, got themselves involved in email software through buying Eudora, which was, way back when, kind of a big name (I remember using Eudora Light). It limped along under the onslaught of Outlook for quite a few years, until, in 2006, it was open sourced and moved under Mozilla, where internet software that has had its ass handed to it by Microsoft go to regroup and stage their comeback.
What they bring to OHA and Android:
Do I really need to answer that question? These guys invented CDMA, ferchrissakes.
As is likely the case with many other semiconductor companies, they’re probably involved mostly to provide hardware specs and reference platforms for the Android devs. As I’ve conjectured around these parts before, being a part of the OHA involves no risk for a company like Qualcomm. They provide some reference platforms, if Android is huge they win in that the software is sure to run on their stuff, whereas if Android fails all they’ve lost is some reference hardware.
I apologize that saying this over and over again, but there’s not much else to really say about Qualcomm. I can even hand the mic over to someone from Qualcomm, who basically told Information week’s Eric Zeman the same thing:
Qualcomm’s involvement is simple. The main benefactor will be the the chipset division. It continues to show that we will support many operating systems and platforms. This includes BREW,Microsoft and others. With Android, we’re just saying we can run Linux on our chipsets as well. (Emphasis mine).
So, nothing to see here. Move on. Qualcomm isn’t bringing any hot new tech to the table, they’re just jumping around, waving their arms, saying “Me too. Me too.”
I’m going to close out with the words of Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Qualcomm CEO, from the OHA quotes page. He had his PR folks working overtime on this one; it’s great for being nicely verbose while really not saying much at all:
The convergence of the wireless and Internet industries is creating new partnerships, evolving business models and driving innovation. We are extremely pleased to be participating in the Open Handset Alliance, whose mission is to help build the leading open-source application platform for 3G networks. The proliferation of open-standards-based handsets will provide an exciting new opportunity to create compelling services and devices. As a result, we are committing research and development resources to enable the Android platform and to create the best always-connected consumer experience on our chipsets.