I’m not ashamed to admit that when it comes to technology I can be fiercely loyal and it takes a lot to make me change brand preferences.
Intel is an example. Although I loved and used an Apple Macintosh, initially the combination of their operating system and their processor wasn’t compatible with the large library of software I used for work and at home. In the fullness of time—like after the introduction of PowerPoint and PageMaker, and other mainstream applications for Windows, I got rid of my Mac and went back to Intel-based machines. Going back to Windows was made more difficult because I was a senior editor at MacWeek, and the lone Windows users in a newsroom of Macintosh fanatics. But I went back to Intel and Windows very quickly. I’ve never looked back and over the years even Apple has switched to Intel processors.
New paradigms force me to examine my preferences and I may have found my
moment of inertia two weeks ago when I had the opportunity to use two VR headsets driven by Samsung smart phones. Although I’m a big fan of Samsung’s Android phones, I was kicked beyond my tipping point by the power and versatility of their Qualcomm processors, core and other logic.
The way to win brand loyalty in the consumer market is by demonstrating reliability and current as well as future versatility. And Qualcomm has a proven record of doing ‘zackly that in mobile computing. This San Diego company is notoriously tight lipped about future products but the scent of more powerful multicore SnapDrgaon processors, faster Wi-Fi, higher resolution screen displays, and next generation wireless communications chipsets are as ever present in the mobile computing community here as the smell of citrus blossoms on evening breezes.
Qualcomm sits in the catbird’s seat of mobile computing today and by extension it is well positioned to be a leader in virtual reality. And one look at this company’s financials suggests it has the resources to fund the R&D and outright technology acquisitions it needs to build a solid empire in the VR kingdom. For the quarter just ended, this San Diego Company reported it had more than $30 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand.
In the looming battle for VR headsets, I’m betting that the winning companies will be in several camps: headset makers who use commonly available cell phones to provide an untethered experience, infrastructure software suppliers who license technologies that reduce the time to market for suppliers of content authoring software, plus makers of peripheral devices that let users virtually manipulate objects on displays.
While I’m bullish on Qualcomm, I don’t think Intel can be counted out, yet. It has the capabilities to develop technologies equivalent to Qualcomm’s and it has a venture investment fund it’s willing to use to acquire and foster technologies for all categories of mobile computing
I am willing to live in a bifurcated world. One of which (Intel and Windows) gives me access to legacy applications, the other which drops me in on a swelling technology wave. It’s the new world of Qualcomm and Google/Android I think holds the most promise.
And it’s just this sort of promise that makes me think about changing my brand preferences.
My current cell phone is two years old and is due to be replaced soon. I absolutely will swap it out for a Snapdragon phone running Google’s Android, which is economically feasible for me while reducing the cost of playing with virtual reality.—Jim Forbes on 15 March, 2016.