New Qualcomm CEO 'optimistic' about the future of Windows

At CES, Steve Mollenkopf takes an uncontroversial approach to his first Q&A as Qualcomm CEO.

Jason Jenkins Director of content / EMEA
Jason Jenkins is the director of content for CNET in EMEA. Based in London, he has been writing about technology since 1999 and was once thrown out of Regent's Park for testing the UK's first Segway.
Jason Jenkins
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Qualcomm's new CEO, Steve Mollenkopf Jason Jenkins/ CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Steve Mollenkopf, the new CEO at Qualcomm, took to the stage at CES on Monday to take questions from the press with a broad message of "steady as she goes."

There were a few interesting titbits: firstly that he continues "to be optimistic of the future of the Windows ecosystem." He refused to comment on rumors that he was approached to take over the helm at Microsoft from Steve Balmer, simply saying "if you look at Microsoft and Qualcomm, we have a strong relationship."

Mollenkopf predicts that there will continue to be multiple ecosystems in the space Qualcomm operates in, with some relying on multimedia applications to keep them going, and some the corporate market.

On 64-bit chips, Mollenkopf said "we thought that 64-bit would come at slightly different timing on Android to iOS," but he said he's positive that Qualcomm will drive future adoption, pointing to the firm's 64-bit Snadragon 410 processor for China as an example.

Last year a Qualcomm executive was reassigned after saying that Apple's 64-bit chip was "a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."

On Toq, the company's smartwatch that's just had $50 knocked off its selling price, Mollenkopf said it's "early days," but was encouraged by early reviews and reminded the crowd that it exists primarily to drive the company's technologies.

As to why there aren't more high-end chip announcements at the 2014 CES, like at 2013's, Mollenkopf hinted that there is plenty to come on this front, but that he didn't want to tip his competitors off by announcing so early in the year.

Other than that, Mollenkopf's messaging is what you'd expect from a successful mobile-chip company: there will be more mobile, everywhere, and that 2014 will be the year LTE moves into the mainstream. As for the unasked question of whether mobile innovation has run out of road: "We're not done with the smartphone yet."

Qualcomm is using CES to demo the new features of its high-end Snapdragon 805 processor. Chroma Flash takes two quick pictures, one with the flash on, one with it turned off, merging them together to get the best of both worlds in the resulting picture. Meanwhile, "Touch to track" and "Optizoom" keep tabs on an object as it moves around, zooming in if it moves away from the camera and keeping it in focus.

It's also demonstrating an "ultrasound notepad" which employs microphones inside a special stylus to work out what you're writing or drawing; the advantage is that you don't need to actually touch the screen with the stylus. This video shows someone writing on a notepad and the image appearing by magic on the tablet.

Here is a video of Optizoom in action