clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Qualcomm Eyes Security Cameras, Other Markets as Smartphone Growth Slows

The company is introducing a design for a smart security camera and two new modem chips for markets like smart meters.


Until recently, Qualcomm had all the growth it needed just from the number of smartphones running on the latest cellphone networks.

For the first few years of 4G LTE data service, the sector was booming and Qualcomm had a virtual stranglehold on the market for the processors that power such phones. Only Apple was using its own processor, and even the iPhone had one of Qualcomm’s modems.

Now, though, as smartphone growth levels off and Qualcomm’s rivals win more of the chip business, the San Diego company has been forced to quickly cut costs, scale back investments and find new markets for its core technology.

The company, which is already targeting the drone market, is announcing a new effort on Tuesday to get its Snapdragon processor built into Internet-connected security cameras. Qualcomm is also announcing a pair of lower-cost modem chips aimed at ensuring that Qualcomm has a place inside all the smart meters and other industrial devices expected to connect to the network over the next few years.

Qualcomm Senior VP Raj Talluri told Re/code that Qualcomm already sells quite a bit of its standard modem chips into the Internet of Things market but can do even better with chips that are optimized for the lower cost and long battery life needed for such devices.

On the security camera front, most of today’s products have just enough processing power to collect video using a basic motion sensor and send it to the cloud. Talluri said Qualcomm’s technology can save costs by allowing more sophisticated detection to occur within the camera, such as ignoring passing cars and pedestrians and differentiating between pets and prowlers.

“That’s something we can do really well with the Snapdragon processor,” Talluri said. Qualcomm’s reference design uses its midrange Snapdragon 618 processor to offer an LTE connection and support for 4K video. “These cameras can do a lot better if there is more intelligence,” he said.

While neither move is likely to solve Qualcomm’s issues, both target large and rapidly growing markets. The company didn’t say how much business it expects to do in the new categories, but noted that the IP camera market is seen growing from half a billion dollars this year to $1.4 billion by 2019, while the company expects more than five billion non-phone connected devices to ship by 2018.

Talluri said to expect Qualcomm-powered security cameras, as well as other devices using the new chips, in the first half of next year.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.