With Qualcomm’s powerful, versatile and efficient Snapdragon S4 taking the mobile world by storm, it should come as no surprise that the company’s accountants are smiling more than ever. Today, the firm posted earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012, which includes a net income of $ 1.27 billion with revenues of $ 4.87 billion. In terms of profit, these figures represent a 20 percent year-over-year increase and a five percent bump when compared to the previous quarter. A peek inside Qualcomm’s books reveal that the company is now sitting on $ 43 billion in assets and $ 9.4 billion in liabilities — if only our own pocketbooks were overflowing in similar fashion. Feel free to count some beans for yourself at the source link below.
Validity Sensors, the San Jose-based maker of fingerprint scanning sensors and authentication technology, announced today that it has closed $ 10 million of a $ 20 million series E financing round. (It will close the second half in the next month.) The investment was led by TeleSoft Partners, with participation from Validity’s previous investors, including Crossslink Capital, Panorama Capital, Qualcomm Ventures and Venture Tech Associates. The round brings Validity’s total funding to $ 78.6 million.
While there are tons of security apps and password lockers that help keep mobile devices, computers and sensitive digital info secure, the prevailing form of authentication still comes in the form of good ole passwords and PINs. Of course, most people use the same password for multiple different accounts, or have a tendency to forget the complex ones login pages ask them to create.
As we’ve all learned, these forms of authentication are difficult to remember, ineffective and fairly easy to hack. With the exploding growth of mobile payment transactions and cloud-based services, new (or better) forms of security are needed to protect our data both in the cloud and on the go, especially considering the expected growth of mobile payments — and how frequently we’ll be using our phones to pay bills, receive coupons and coupons and location based offers etc in the next few years. That’s where Validity Sensors wants to enter the picture.
Validity and companies like it believe that, even with advances in multi-factor authentication technology (facial, voice, etc.), fingerprints are still the best and simplest way to verify identity. The company has developed fingerprint sensor tech that enables authentication, device login, access to digital and mobile wallets, password management, app launching and so on — for smartphones, tablets and notebooks.
In the future, this tech will move to allowing content control for home media usage and home automation and monitoring, and really access control to a wide range of things (namely robot butlers). Collectively, all these apps need a simple way to securely authenticate the user’s identity — that isn’t going away any time soon.
The company’s mobile fingerprint solution provides handset designers with a solution that can identify users, protect mobile payments and launch (and log user into) email, social networks, shopping and banking — just by swiping their finger. Partners can then integrate Validity’s technology in under-glass solutions or add it to home and power buttons on mobile devices and notebooks. Currently, Validity’s solutions support Android and Windows operating systems.
Since launching its products in 2008, Validity has shipped more than 30 million sensors to OEMs, focusing initially on PCs. More recently, it has turned its attention to the smartphone and tablet markets, and its new $ 20 million round will be used to support that push.
Another few potential up-sides for Validity? In May, the company nabbed the former head of PayPal’s mobile ecosystem, Sebastian Taveau, making him CTO.
Secondly, in July, Apple bought its largest competitor, AuthenTec, for $ 356 million. Among other things, AuthenTec is known for making fingerprint sensor chips that are embedded in computing devices to enhance security and identification — sounds familiar, right? Apple’s acquisition came about a month after the company had signed a deal with Samsung to become its security and device management partner for its Android devices.
By pushing more aggressively into the mobile space and bringing on capital from strategic, mobile and software investors, Validity hoping for comparable outcome.Related Posts:
Don’t think Qualcomm is limiting its quad-core processors to superstar phones. The Snapdragon S4 Play line is growing to include the MSM8225Q and MSM8625Q, parallels to the existing two Play chips that bring four cores to entry-level devices. Besides the speed improvements that you’d expect from all that extra parallelism, the Q variants support the extra bandwidth of low-power DDR2 (LPDDR2) memory and can handle both 720p displays and movie-making. Neither is quite an all-encompassing solution, although the two will cover the bases for much of the starter demographic: while local wireless such as Bluetooth, FM radio and WiFi have to remain separate from the main processor, the two newcomers manage to pack either single-mode UMTS 3G (in the 8225Q) or dual-mode CDMA and UMTS (in the 8625Q) for their cellular fix. Along with the already promised, China-focused S4 Plus MSM8930, test samples of the faster S4 Play editions will be ready before the end of the year, with shipping phones on the way in early 2013 — just in time to go head-to-head with a similar push by MediaTek to make quad-core the norm for a much larger slice of the population.
Collaboration and cloud storage company Box today announced the launch of its brand new app for Windows Phone. Despite the operating system’s relatively tiny market share, Box said a Windows Phone app was one of the top requests from customers. “Big, medium, or small platforms — we need to be on every platform our customers want to use,” VP of Platform Engineering Matthew Self said. Some competitors like Dropbox don’t yet have a Windows Phone app offering, while Microsoft’s SkyDrive app is pretty great, but offers few collaboration features.
Box designed its Windows Phone app from the ground up with lots of cooperation from Microsoft along the way. The app abides by Windows Phone’s “Metro” design language, and lets you pin documents to…
At this year’s Uplinq conference, Qualcomm hit Android developers with some exciting news. In the coming months, the chip maker will deliver a Snapdragon software development kit (SDK) that will provide devs with access to the “next-generation technology and features” embedded in its processors. Through APIs, the kit will allow application architects to leverage facial processing, burst camera capture, surround sound recording, echo cancellation, sensor gestures, low power geofencing and indoor location capabilities. Initially, the SDK will only be available for the S4 8960 wafer, but Qualcomm hopes to include more models over time. Head past the break to have a gander at the full press release.
Continue reading Live from the Engadget CES Stage: an interview with Qualcomm
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Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo just announced it’s forming a joint venture with five partners — Samsung, Panasonic, Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Semiconductor and NEC — to develop and sell chips for mobile devices. According to the press release the fabless JV will get started once all involved finish hammering out the details and focus on creating LTE-connected products for the global market. NTT Docomo is investing $ 5.8 million to create a subsidiary, Communication Platform Planning Co., in preparation with one of its executives as CEO. Currently Qualcomm makes the majority of chips found in smartphones, but it appears to have some high-powered competition on the way soon.
Continue reading NTT Docomo, Panasonic, Samsung and more team up to take on Qualcomm over cellphone chips
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Oh, and there are games. The company is expanding its already voluminous Snapdragon GamePack to include titles like The Ball, Fight Game Heroes, and Galaga Special Edition — casual and console games aimed at showcasing its chips’ abilities. The list also includes the introduction of Snapdragon GameCommand, an app aimed at showcasing those showcasing apps, making them easier to find and offering up gaming news. GameCommand will be hitting early next year. The new games will be available through the Android Market for handsets packing Snapdragon processors. Lots of press info after the break.
Continue reading Qualcomm announces a slew of new Snapdragon processors, upgrades, mobile games
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Qualcomm has laid out its details of the upcoming S4 SoC, and yes, there’s definitely reason for excitement with this next generation Snapdragon. First, it’ll usher in a new 28nm manufacturing process alongside the company’s Krait CPU and Adreno 225 GPU. The move from 45nm to 28nm promises smaller components, lower power consumption and improved thermal performance, while Krait will introduce a new pipeline architecture that promises a full 60% boost over the current Scorpion lineup with clock speeds ranging between 1.5 and 2.5GHz — along with support for asynchronous multiprocessing and dual-channel memory. As for the GPU, the latest chip flaunts 50% greater performance over the current Adreno 220, where it also provides support for DirectX 9.3 for Windows 8, in addition to OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0. Should be quite the gaming experience, eh?
It doesn’t end there, as the S4 MSM8960 promises multi-mode world capabilities with support for all the commonly used frequencies from 700 to 2600MHz — quite a feat, indeed. It handles Cat. 3 LTE (up to 100Mbps) and Cat. 24 HSPA+ (up to 42Mbps), along with EV-DO Rev. B, 1x Advanced and TD-SCDMA, as well as GSM, GPRS and EDGE. Oh, and there’s also simultaneous support for GPS and GLONASS, along with Bluetooth, WiFi, FM radio and NFC. With samples already being sent to manufacturers, we’re quite excited for what 2012 may bring.
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We’ve gotten a few peeks at Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon chips, codenamed Krait, but now we’ve got a proper roadmap, including time frames for release, model numbers, and even details about the memory channels. Glancing at the slide above doesn’t reveal anything terribly surprising — the dual-core 8960 (LTE), 8270 (HSPA), and 8260A (HSPA+) will all be shipping to manufacturers later this quarter, in speeds ranging from 1.5GHz to 1.7GHz and come packing the latest Adreno 225 GPU. In Q3 of next year Qualcomm’s 28nm tech will trickle down from the high-end to mid-range phones, just ahead of the launch of those quad-core, 2GHz mobile monsters the company teased back in February. Check out the full PDF presentation at the source for more nitty-gritty details.
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