Qualcomm – The Switzerland of Mobile

Read the following in your favorite ring announcer’s voice: “In this corner, the challenger, in more configurations than you can imagine – with keyboards, without keyboards, candy bar style, flip style, ability to tinker with until to your heart’s desire,  a market share grabbing fighting machine – Android.  In the far corner,  the phone that reinvented mobile,  the phone that has made countless cell phone CEO’s curl up in the fetal position, the undefeated heavy weight champion of the world – iPhone.”

The battle for our mobile dollars is shaping up to be a two company fight between Apple and Google.  The other guys vying for our attention with vaporware and press releases are quickly becoming footnotes in Mobile 2.0.  Many of us lived through the PC wars and watched the Microsoft and Apple battles.  It’s only natural to attempt to frame the new Mobile wars in the same context open (Google) vs. integrated (Apple). This past week I was introduced to a new term by The Reformed Broker in his blog “Meet Quadroid.

….for the first time ever in the wireless ecosystem, a standard platform is emerging: At least a dozen handset makers have brought to market more than 90 different smartphones that run Android, and more than three quarters of those handsets have Qualcomm chips embedded in them, according to a new study by consultancy PRTM.

The Qualcomm-Android standard, or “Quadroid” as PRTM calls it, is becoming a parallel to the Windows-Intel, or “Wintel,” standard that developed in the 1990s.

In my opinion, the phrase Quadroid will have a very short shelf-life for one reason.  The term infers partnership – deep relationship.  There is no way, in this world, that Qualcomm can form such a relationship with Google and expect to get a dime from Apple.  That’s just not the way Steve Jobs works.  Qualcomm understands this and for business reasons will never embrace the term.

Now let’s put our investor’s cap on.  Many analyst believe that the two most dominant mobile platforms going forward will be Android and iPhone.  With 75% of Android phones having Qualcomm chips embedded in them and already being a small supplier to Apple, Qualcomm is well positioned to leverage this trend.  Matter of fact, their Apple business is rumored to expand significantly in 2011.  Rumors are that Qualcomm will be supplying the mobile communications chips for both the next generation iPad and iPhone. Analyst aren’t waiting for an official announcement and are starting to roll out the upgrades.  If your investor juices aren’t flowing yet.  Take a look at this chart.

This is a year to date chart of ARM Holdings.  Guess what?  They supply IP to both Android and iPhone platforms.  Qualcomm’s management wants their stock chart to look like that.  Some media types may use the term Quadroid, but Qualcomm’s management will never utter it.  Their desire is to sell chips to everyone. Their goal is to be the Switzerland of Mobile.

banner ad