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Qualcomm eyes verticals for growth with Qualcomm Life

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Qualcomm is better known as the company whose system-on-chip solutions power most of the mainstream or high-end smartphones and tablets on the market.

Its chips are in the HTC One, the Sony Xperia Z2, Google Nexus 5, the LG G2 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 to name just a few.

Analyst firm Strategy Analytics published its report two weeks ago and reported that Qualcomm widened its lead one year with a 54% revenue share, more than five times that of Mediatek, the only other independent SoC vendor.

Beyond mobile

But the vendor has long expanded into other markets in a bid to diversify its revenue stream. It is present in automotive, education, energy, retail, transportation and logistics, government and consumer electronics.

However, one of the most promising industries is healthcare. We met with Rick Valencia, SVP and GM Qualcomm Life, to tell us more.

Valencia told TechRadar Pro that Qualcomm Life's mission is to mobilise healthcare, which literally means to make it more mobile, moving the centre of gravity away from hospitals towards the patient.

This brings the routine management of care in the home, something that has some tremendous impact on the healthcare ecosystem.

It helps to reduce both operational and capital expenditure, while improving the general application of health practices and in many cases dramatically cutting mortality rates.

Big money in health

The mobile health market is said to be worth up to $60 billion by next year and it is not surprising therefore that Qualcomm has launched a fund with $100 million to invest in startups that make mobile health a reality.

Where Qualcomm stands to benefit, other than the fact that companies exiting from that fund would yield a tidy ROI, is that it wants to build most of it, emulating what it has done in the mobile business through the use of reference designs.

There are already a few of them like the Toq watch, a medical hotspot called 2Net and Whispernet, which Amazon currently uses to deliver Kindle books everywhere.

Qualcomm also said that it would be working on a regulated smartphone that would be approved by the relevant health bodies and could convert into a functional medical device when required, shutting down non-essential features.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.