Qualcomm SDK promises consumers reasons to stick with Snapdragon

In the first move of Qualcomm’s annual big event, the company has released an SDK for mobile developers intended to bring the very best app experiences for Android users the world over.

According to the San Diego-based mobile chip manufacturer at Uplinq 2012, the idea is to encourage software makers to unlock the potential that lies within Snapdragon smartphones to create a “killer user experience”.

“We’re not just talking about face detection,” said Liat Ben-Zur, Qualcomm senior director, software strategy and business development, “but you can actually see to what degree your eyes are open; what direction your eyes are looking at. Are you smiling? How big is your smile? Is your mouth open or closed.”

Other key areas in which the company hopes its Snapdragon-powered devices can excel include advances in indoor navigation, something that continues to prove tricky with current limits to the GPS signal; low-powered geo-fencing, with your phone won’t wear itself out by constantly having to check to see where it is; and the simple addition of a wealth of deeper gesture movements for heightened button-less control.

For phone users, the knee-jerk fear is that yet another SDK, beyond that of simply Google Android, will be a further source for the platform to fragment. Not only might you need to have the right version of Android with the right kind of UI from the right manufacturer, but now even your semi-conscious choice of the chip within might also dictate whether or not a certain app will run on your phone. Not so according to Ben-Zur.

“It doesn't fragment Android. It’s a very sensitive point and one we spent a lot of time thinking about because the last thing we want to do is fragment Android.”

As such many of these tools released will work on Qualcomm’s competitors, most notably Nvidia’s Tegra system, but just because the resulting apps will work on other mobiles, it doesn’t mean they’ll work quite as well.

“We want those super, super cool apps because we want to differentiate our OEMs.”

Currently, of course, the majority of the smartphone-buying public pays little or, more often, no attention whatsoever as to what’s in their Samsung, HTC, Sony, etc branded phones. The key for Qualcomm, though, will be to help get the consumers to recognise the difference in the user experience regardless of whether they end up recognising the Snapdragon name or not.

Commissioning a mock rap video featuring San Diego act Parker and The Numberman, the company has begun to do so in a tongue in cheek manner, but expect some more serious campaigns to come in the near future.

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