The mobile revolution is expected to continue on full-steam. Research firm Canalys is expecting global shipments of mobile devices to reach 2.6 billion units by the year 2016, with the overall mobile devices market advancing 8% in growth annually. The firm sees tablets and smartphones growing quickest, with annual growth rates of 35% and 18% respectively. You can argue all day long who will "win," who will be most popular, whether Android is better than iOS, if Windows Phone will be a challenger, or if the new Blackberry 10 will gain market share. Or you can step aside from the bickering and the noise and look at the real situation. Some companies will benefit from these mobile players, no matter who leads in market share or sells the most mobile devices.
All mobile devices need chips...
And that's where QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) comes in. The company is a dominant player in the mobile chip market shipping 86% of the 47 million LTE-capable chips shipped in 2012. Revenue and earnings were both up a whopping 30% year-over-year at the end of the company's last quarter, as well. The company's chips can be found in everything from your Android tablet to Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK)'s Lumia 920 Windows Phone.
The company also has bright prospects going forward, recently introducing its RF360 radio chipset which covers 40 different LTE frequencies. This is more than just innovative, it's revolutionary. Why? Because carriers have selected such a wide array of frequencies for 4G that LTE around the world has become fragmented. Qualcomm's new chip works on all of them. The company is also claiming that power consumption is reduced by up to 30%, and the new chips are up to 50% smaller than current models.
QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is also baking other technologies into its chips. Back in November the company acquired ultrasound technology assets that will enable their chips to provide devices with the capability of supporting and integrating features such as the stylus (already found on some Samsung Galaxy models) and possibly even "touch-free interfaces for devices" in the future. Oh, and don't forget sound.
It's about time audio quality became a priority in mobile…
According to Rachel King of ZDNet, Qualcomm is also working with audio king Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) to up-the-ante in mobile sound. Dolby Digital Plus technology, (which can already be found, or rather heard, in its first adopter, the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle) will now be incorporated into Qualcomm's silicon platform to bring the high-definition entertainment experience to mobile. Dolby's audio technology will be implanted directly into Qualcomm's chips, which will leave implementation headaches for OEMs out of the picture. In a report conducted by Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB), audio quality for mobile was seen as highly in-demand amongst consumers as well:
A partnership with the dominant Qualcomm instantly propels Dolby out of the dying PC age and into the relevant mobile market space. This also allows them to build a solid foundation in the early stages of premium sound for tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.