Jul. 11, 2014, 7:46 AM
- The catalysts noted in the November upgrade "have largely played out," says analyst Simona Jankowski, cutting Qualcomm (QCOM) to Buy from Conviction Buy.
- The team trims its June and September quarter estimates to reflect weaker handset demand, but views the issues as "transitory and not thesis-changing over the longer term."
- Shares -1.2% premarket
Jul. 8, 2014, 4:40 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF), Intel (INTC) and Dell have teamed up to create a standard by which household gadgets communicate with each other, called the Open Interconnect Consortium. The partnership also includes chipmakers Broadcom (BRCM) and Atmel (ATML).
- The new consortium will rival the AllSeen Alliance, a similar framework supported by Qualcomm (QCOM), LG (LGEIY), Microsoft (MSFT) and other companies.
Jul. 3, 2014, 3:39 PM
- Qualcomm (QCOM +1%) has struck a deal with SMIC (SMI +2.5%) to have the Chinese foundry to produce 28nm Snapdragon processors. SMIC has previously manufactured (less demanding) power management and connectivity ICs for Qualcomm.
- The deal comes ahead of Apple/Samsung's fall hardware refreshes, and undoubtedly has much to do with tight 28nm capacity at main foundry partner TSMC (TSM +1.5%). Digitimes has reported Qualcomm and MediaTek (among others) are looking to secure 28nm capacity from SMIC, UMC, and Globalfoundries due to TSMC's supply constraints.
- Digitimes states Qualcomm has booked over half of SMIC's 28nm capacity, and that MediaTek will be placing orders of its own. The site has also reported Qualcomm has placed orders with Globalfoundries and Samsung for their next-gen 14nm process (set to go live in early 2015).
- TSMC's efforts to ramp 20nm production for Apple could be contributing to its 28nm crunch. JPMorgan expects TSMC to produce 120k-130k 20nm wafers for Apple in Q3, up from just 30K-40K in Q2. It sees Apple respectively making up 13% and 15% of TSMC's Q3 and Q4 revenue vs. just 4% of Q2 revenue.
- Yesterday: Qualcomm buys WiGig chipmaker Wilocity
Jul. 2, 2014, 6:51 PM
- Israel's Wilocity is a top developer of chips/firmware for the nascent WiGig (802.11ad) standard, which (using 60GHz. spectrum) can deliver speeds of up to 7Gbps to devices within 10m of each other, and thus act as a USB/HDMI replacement. (PR)
- No acquisition price has been given. The Marker reported in May Qualcomm (QCOM) is in talks to buy Wilocity for ~$300M.
- Qualcomm's Atheros unit has been working with Wilocity since 2011 to develop tri-band Wi-Fi/WiGig offerings for the PC market. Going forward, Qualcomm plans to develop mobile/networking tri-band platforms, and offer a reference design that pairs one with its Snapdragon 810 processor (next-gen flagship, due in commercial hardware in 1H15).
- Yesterday: Qualcomm buys CSR's Israeli imaging IP unit
Jul. 1, 2014, 2:40 PM
- Qualcomm (QCOM +0.7%) is buying U.K. chipmaker CSR's (CSRE -0.6%) Israeli ops. TheMarker reports the purchase price is $45M.
- The purchase provides Qualcomm with imaging IP and engineering talent. The company states the deal will help it "continue successfully developing cameras so that smartphones will provide the same quality as a digital camera."
- Qualcomm doesn't compete in the image sensor market, but it has integrated a decent amount of image-processing IP into its Snapdragon processors. Its flagship Snapdragon 805 can handle 55MP images with the help of dual image signal processors (ISPs).
- Last week, Qualcomm announced it has bought power amplifier vendor Black Sand.
Jun. 25, 2014, 6:22 PM
- Black Sand Technologies, based out of Austin, was founded in '05 and has raised $28.2M in funding over its history.
- Notably, the product page on Black Sand's site only shows 3G amplifiers, and the most recent PR on its news page is from 2012. All signs suggest Qualcomm (QCOM) is buying the company to strengthen its power amplifier IP and/or engineering talent, as it encroaches on the turf of established vendors such as Skyworks (SWKS), TriQuint (TQNT), RF Micro (RFMD), and Avago (AVGO) with system-level solutions.
- Qualcomm, estimated to have 64% of the 2013 baseband processor market, made a dramatic entry into the amplifier market last year by announcing an RF front end solution (amplifiers included) that promised superior 3G/4G multi-band support and (via technologies such as envelope tracking) power efficiency. Skyworks, TriQuint, and RF Micro all tumbled following the announcement.
Jun. 24, 2014, 6:29 PM
- Nvidia's (NVDA) Project Denver (involves CPUs based on custom ARM cores) is only aimed at the mobile market for now, though the chipmaker is keeping its server options open, says a spokesman.
- Nvidia announced its first Denver CPU - a dual-core mobile chip expected in 2H14 - under the Tegra K1 moniker in January. CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has previously said Nvidia is "seeing a lot of interest in putting something like Tegra in micro servers." This week, Nvidia showed off a solution that pairs its Tesla HPC GPUs with 3rd-party ARM (ARMH) server CPUs.
- Meanwhile, a source tells the WSJ Samsung has decided to drop its ARM server CPU efforts. The company was previously reported to be working on ARM server parts with the help of AMD-poached talent.
- AppliedMicro (AMCC) and Cavium (CAVM) must be pleased. Each has bet big on the budding ARM server CPU market, hoping to tap into growing interest in using them in microservers, application-specific hardware (e.g. networking or security gear), and hyperscale data centers. AMD, Marvell, and TI have also announced or launched parts.
- The WSJ also reports Qualcomm (QCOM) is "working on [ARM] server chips," though no announcements have been made yet.
- CEO Steve Mollenkopf hinted at CES Qualcomm, which has a huge R&D budget at its disposal, could go after the market. "I think there's going to be a tremendous amount of growth in computing and resources dedicated to supporting the cloud ... We look at that as an opportunity."
Jun. 23, 2014, 9:30 AM
- Bloomberg reports the judge handling ParkerVision's (PRKR) infringement suit against Qualcomm (QCOM) has ruled in Qualcomm's favor. A Qualcomm motion for a judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) has been granted, and so has a motion for a new non-infringement trial.
- ParkerVision received a $173M jury verdict against Qualcomm last October. The company announced a new suit against Qualcomm (it also covers HTC) in May.
- SA author Alpha Exposure offered a downbeat take last month on the original suit's May 1 hearing. Shares remain halted.
- Earlier: ParkerVision -34.1% prior to halt
Jun. 18, 2014, 2:52 PM
- Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) Galaxy S5 LTE-A, launching today in South Korea, sports a 2560x1440 OLED display that's a marked improvement from the 1080p display found on the regular S5.
- It also features Qualcomm's (QCOM -0.2%) flagship Snapdragon 805 (quad-core, 2.5GHz.) baseband/app processor - the regular S5 uses the Snapdragon 801 - and can handle theoretical max download speeds of 225Mbps thanks to its support for the LTE-Advanced standard.
- The display and CPU are among the features rumored to be on a next-gen flagship called the Galaxy F. But two other features - OIS and a long-demanded metal case - aren't found in the S5 LTE-A.
- The 805, first announced last November, sports a newer custom ARM CPU core than the 801 and 800 (Krait 450 vs. 400), as well as a faster GPU (Adreno 420 vs. 330) and more memory bandwidth.
- A next-gen flagship CPU, the Snapdragon 810, will feature a 8 64-bit non-custom ARM cores (4 high-end cores and 4 low-power cores). It's expected to arrive in commercial hardware in 1H15, prior to the launch of a 64-bit flagship sporting custom cores.
- Samsung's launch comes as Amazon unveils its Fire phone, which sports a less less powerful Snapdragon CPU (appears to be the 800 or 801).
Jun. 11, 2014, 10:34 AM
- Rambus (RMBS) has struck a licensing deal with mobile chip giant Qualcomm (QCOM) that covers its memory, interface, and security IP. Terms are undisclosed.
- As part of the deal, Qualcomm is licensing Rambus' new CryptoManager chip security platform, which (through a core integrated within an SoC) provides "a hardware root-of-trust for the secure provisioning, configuration, keying, and authentication of SoCs during chip and device manufacturing."
- Qualcomm's chip division had FY13 (ended Sep. '13) revenue of $16.7M, and claims over 60% of the baseband processor market. Thus, even a small per-chip royalty could add up.
- With the Qualcomm deal on the books, Rambus now expects Q2 revenue of $75M-$77M, up from a prior $69M-$74M and above a $71.4M consensus. Full-year guidance of $295M-$305M is reiterated.
Jun. 2, 2014, 12:23 PM
- After opening up 13% on news it's weighing a sale or wind-down of its baseband chip unit, Broadcom (BRCM) has pared its gains a bit.
- One concern: Broadcom might little to nothing in a sale, given the baseband unit has been hemorrhaging cash and (as recently noted by CLSA) companies not named Qualcomm (QCOM +0.3%) or MediaTek have had a rough time turning a profit in the R&D-intensive business.
- Broadcom is only 9 months removed from paying $164M for Renesas' 4G baseband unit. Since then, the company has reportedly scored 4G design wins, but has also warned of top-line pressures caused by 3G weakness.
- Goldman notes Broadcom had only 4% of the 2013 baseband market (per Gartner), a tiny fraction of Qualcomm's 62%, and is set to lose share in 2014. The firm estimates Qualcomm gets a $0.02 EPS benefit for each percentage point it gains.
- Goldman adds Broadcom has noted its low-end/mid-range combo chip sales could be pressured as more functionality gets integrated with baseband ICs; the company had 39% of the 2013 mobile connectivity market to Qualcomm's 20%. Likewise, Wells Fargo sees a baseband exit hurting Broadcom's combo chip position.
- Texas Instruments, Freescale, and ST-Ericsson each wound up shutting down their baseband ops rather than selling them.
May 29, 2014, 2:36 AM
- Qualcomm (QCOM) CEO Steve Mollenkopf has announced his wishes to be the chipmaker behind driverless technology. His statement comes after Google (GOOG, GOOGL) released its two passenger driverless prototype yesterday.
- "If cars are really going to drive themselves one day, the eyes they use to see the road may come from Qualcomm," Mollenkopf says.
- The company already has been increasing its capabilities of computer vision and peer-to-peer connections. The next step is to take it to driverless vision and connecting cars to each other.
May 27, 2014, 1:40 PM
- In a surprising move, Intel (INTC +1%) will work with Rockchip, a fabless Chinese chipmaker known for its ARM-based mobile processors, to develop a baseband/app processor based on Intel's SoFIA platform. The product will be aimed at the low-end tablet market.
- The Intel/Rockchip solution will pair a quad-core Atom CPU with a 3G modem, and is expected to launch in 1H15. Intel already plans to offer a dual-core 3G SoFIA part for the large but cost-sensitive low-end Android phone market by Q4, and to offer a 4G version in 1H15.
- Intel hopes the tie-up will help it be more price-competitive in a baseband/app processor market currently dominated by Qualcomm (QCOM +0.5%) and (to a lesser extent) MediaTek. Strategy Analytics estimates Qualcomm had 64% of the 2013 baseband market, MediaTek 12%, and Intel 8%.
- The announcement comes as Intel gets set to launch Moorefield, a standalone app processor for sub-8" tablets. Moorefield is smaller and runs cooler than Bay Trail, which launched last fall.
- Intel, which aims to ship 40M tablet CPUs this year, reported a giant $3.1B 2013 op. loss for its mobile reporting unit, thanks in part to marketing subsidies to OEMs. Morgan Stanley estimates the business will need to reach $8B-$10B/year in sales (up from 2013's $1.38B) to break even.
May 12, 2014, 7:55 AM
- TheMarker reports Quallcomm (QCOM) is in talks to buy Israeli chipmaker Wilocity for ~$300M. Wilocity is said to have given a notice of sale to employees.
- Wilocity, founded in 2007 by ex-Intel employees, develops chips and related firmware for the nascent WiGig (802.11ad) standard, which aims to act as an HDMI/USB alternative by enabling transfer speeds of up to 7Gbps between devices within 10 meters of each other (a much shorter range than Wi-Fi).
- The purchase would complement Qualcomm's Atheros Wi-Fi chip unit, which already has a partnership with Wilocity and has been grabbing share from Broadcom (BRCM) in the mid-range Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chip market - future combo chips with integrated WiGig seem likely.
- Broadcom, which still controls the high-end combo chip space, also backs WiGig, as do Intel, Marvell, and Nvidia.
May 1, 2014, 4:13 AM
- Qualcomm (QCOM) has agreed to turn its location-awareness business into a separate company called Gimbal and sell a majority holding to a group of investors that includes AEG.
- Financial details of the deal weren't provided.
- Gimbal's technology enables retailers and sports venues to track the specific location of customers on their premises and send targeted ad messages. (PR)
Apr. 23, 2014, 5:38 PM
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Qualcomm Inc develops digital communication technology called CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), & owns intellectual property applicable to products that implement any version of CDMA including patents, patent applications & trade secrets.
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