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Jacobs: Wireless, CE Will Converge

If you had any lingering doubts this is wireless world, Dr. Paul Jacobs’ keynote speech during International CES should remove them.

During a wide-ranging presentation, the animated chairman/CEO recounted some history of wireless communications, as well as Qualcomm’s role as the developer of the 3G and CDMA technology; introduced many corporate partners; gave his vision of the future of CE; and topped it off — Oprah-style — by giving away 300 FLO TVs to the cheering audience.

“Qualcomm is not a household name. Many people think we run a stadium,” Jacobs said to laughs from the audience as he kicked off his remarks. He predicted “convergence of wireless with consumer electronics would happen in a big, big way” as many CE devices would soon have cell phone capabilities inside them.

Dr. Jacobs peppered his talk with some blockbuster comments, such as the fact there are 900 million 3G subscribers out of 4 billion current cellphone owners. He even pulled out one of the first smartphones — the Palm PDQ — powered by a Qualcomm chip and stated that the 16MHz phone handled 2.7 millions instruction per second (MIPS), compared with the company’s latest Snapdragon processor rated 1GHz and 2 billion MIPS.

A small parade of Qualcomm partners followed who discussed a variety of ways to “unleash the power of wireless.” These included:

• Peter Chou, HTC CEO, unveiled the new HTC Smart, a more affordable and easier-to-use smartphone using Qualcomm’s Brew Mobile Platform.

• Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang introduced the Skylight, one of the first smartbooks using the Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.

• Todd Bradley, HP executive VP, showed a netbook prototype using the Android OS and the Snapdragon processor.

• Tony Tsao, D-Link CEO, demonstrated a wireless LAN that beamed a variety of high-def signals to multiple displays using Qualcomm technology. It’s due in the second quarter.

• Dr. Eric Topol, chief medical officer of the West Wireless Health Institute showed a number of personal health products that could radically transform health care.

Jacobs went on to show a working e-reader using his company’s Mirasol technology that changes the traditional monochrome display to full color and also plays video. He said products using this would appear at the end of 2010.

He also touted Audiovox’s new FLO TV mobile television introductions, another Qualcomm invention. Jacobs also discussed Wireless Reach, a philanthropic push to use 3G technology to help the underserved and underprivileged. There are 37 projects underway in 22 countries helping to close the digital divide.

Finally, CBS-TV sportscaster James Brown joined Jacobs on stage to tout the appeal of FLO TV to sports fans. Jacobs said FLO TV would “double down on sports.” offering 1,200 live events and 3,000 hours of a variety of sports to its subscribers. Then it was Oprah time, and 300 audience members walked away happy.