back to article Qualcomm doesn't fear custom chips – in a weird way its modems matter more

Qualcomm this week made clear it wasn't interested in offering smartphone makers heavy customisation of its off-the-shelf Snapdragon chips – even though some of its customers are developing their own custom silicon. The company addressed the issue at the Snapdragon Tech Summit in Hawaii this week, where it announced the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe customers value better modems, but for me personally I value being able to use the platform with whatever software I like. Qualcomm are awful at that with their driver licensing etc.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      I don't think consumers know or care

      Modems are "good enough" and beyond that consumers just don't care. All those articles about the Intel modems Apple was using a few years back not measuring up to Qualcomm modems didn't affect Apple's sales at all.

      Back when phones were only phones, modem quality was paramount because how else are you going to compare phones? The more things modern smartphones are used for the less that matters, especially as most of us are on wifi almost all the time anyway.

  2. fuzzie

    Buddy buddy

    I'm not quite convinced their modems are that much better. I believe it's more a case of a very cosy relationships with the mobile carriers in the US. They've been running a very profitable oligopoly there. Qualcomm was made by their CDMA tech and patents which made its way into 3G and subsequently LTE/5G. I would be very surprised if the US carriers just aren't keen to qualify many different modems. And, as was shown in the Qualcomm competition case, they force bundles, i.e. "You want our modem, you have to use our main SoC as well". That's how they've been siting very pretty pushing out mostly lightly-tweaked Arm reference designs.

    And, related to Mr Coward's comment above, Qualcomm are very aggressive at end-of-lifing products which makes it really hard for ODMs/OEMs to offer any longer term support for devices.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Buddy buddy

      The fact CDMA is being decommissioned by Verizon next year is a big problem for Qualcomm. That was the main reason most US phones used Qualcomm modems, without that there's really no reason they can't use modems made by Mediatek, Samsung or (reportedly in 2023) Apple.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >Google earlier this year dropped Snapdragon in favor of its homegrown Tensor chip for Pixel 6 smartphones....

    The Tensor chip isn't homegrown. It's largely a Samsung Exynos with some Google marketing painted on the top.

    Exynos chips are of course largely themselves ARM Cortex cores with some bells on, but it's turtles all the way down in this world.

  4. idiot taxpayer here again Bronze badge

    If you ask me

    and I know you didn't, but fuck that small detail,

    Qualcomm are running scared. The rest of the world is getting pissed off with them. Witness that new Mediatech thing, also Samsung and Huwaei (or however it is spelt) are bunging serous money at their Soc's. And then there is ( please be kind) Apple developing it's own modem. And as for their Apple's soc's, Qualcomm you are not even in the rear view mirror.

    So, sorry Qualcomm, maybe it is payback time just around the corner

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: If you ask me

      Payback for what?

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