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A visit to Qualcomm (photos)

From augmented reality to the next generation of super application processors, Qualcomm has a lot brewing. CNET visits the company's headquarters see how it makes more than wireless radio chips.

Roger_Cheng.jpg
Roger_Cheng.jpg

Roger Cheng

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1 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

Welcome to Qualcomm

The Irvin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall at the company's San Diego headquarters is the largest building at the facility. Qualcomm actually owns several buildings in the San Diego area and is among the city's largest property owners.
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2 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

Qualcomm's got a lot of patents

Qualcomm proudly displays a wall of its many patents, which spans two floors (and isn't the complete set). The company heavily relies on its patents for licensing revenue, which allows it to continue funding its research and development projects.
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3 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

Qualcomm's patents up close

Just a few of the thousands of patents lining the wall.
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4 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

Qualcomm looks back at its history

A (near) life-size virtual Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs greets visitors to its museum, which opened last year as part of the company's 25th anniversary.
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5 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

Qualcomm's first business

OmniTRACS was one of the first truck fleet management systems, which Qualcomm sold as a way to generate funding for its research. Eventually, Qualcomm switched to the licensing business to generate more cash.
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6 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

An early test van

An early test van used to prove that wireless calls did indeed work. Nowadays, the carriers and independent firms do a lot of the testing.
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7 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

Wall of gadgets

Adorned on one side of the museum is a host of gadgets all powered in some way by a Qualcomm chip. They include laptops, phones, and the original Amazon Kindle.
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8 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

An augmented reality user guide

Qualcomm is testing out an augmented reality app that offers user instructions on a business-class phone by holding up a smartphone to it.
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9 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

National Guard gets into augmented reality

By pointing the iPad 2 at a National Guard logo, a virtual helicopter game pops up. It's part of a marketing program designed to spur recruitment.
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10 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

One special National Guard card

The National Guard card that triggers the virtual helicopter game.
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11 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

Qualcomm's eye on online gaming

Qualcomm has developed a technology called AllJoyn that allows for devices to talk to each other locally, rather than constantly pinging the network. That's useful for things like multiplayer online games. By communicating locally, the devices can enable a faster connection between devices (and a better gaming experience). Qualcomm showed off the capabilities of AllJoyn through two HTC Flyers and Pac-Man Racing.
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12 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

A communal jukebox

Using AllJoyn technology, Qualcomm developed a prototype app that allows multiple phones to share songs, creating a communal jukebox ideal for the beach or in the car. Any phone can select the song, adjust the volume, or add a playlist.
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13 of 13 Roger Cheng/CNET

Qualcomm's S4 processor at work

The S4 SnapDragon processor from Qualcomm is a dual-core engine that is the first to integrate a 2G, 3G and 4G LTE radio. The company has a factory on the grounds that builds mobile development platforms (seen here) that carry the chip. Qualcomm sends them to handset manufacturers, carriers and app developers to get them using the chip early. The first products with an S4 chip will come out next year.

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