Uplinq 2014 is just two weeks away and its new venue in San Francisco is shaping up smoothly. One of the Qualcomm teams driving the event content behind scenes is the staff involved with the Qualcomm Developer Network. We wanted the inside scoop so we had a chat with Lauren Thorpe, a frequent contributor to the QDN blog, to get her thoughts about the developer ecosystem and the challenges ahead.
Lauren has been with Qualcomm since 2009 and works in the Application Processor Product Management Group. She oversees the Ecosystem Team, whose goal is to help third parties, developers, software vendors, etc. understand what’s great about Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, and how to take advantage of the available features so that consumers end up with fantastic experiences using Snapdragon processor-equipped devices.
Prior to Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., Lauren worked for a number of startups (e.g., THQ and MFORMA), mostly in the mobile application space—essentially helping create mobile applications on a whole slew of mobile devices, back when everything was Brew, Java, iPhone, and even some lightweight dual-screen (DS) games too, when downloadable DS games first came out.
OnQ: What’s your favorite app right now on your phone?
Lauren: I’m very productivity oriented. My favorite app is probably my health club’s fitness application that tells me when my exercise classes are and who’s teaching them. I would say most of my apps are fitness related, not that I’m a fitness enthusiast, but, I have my FitBit app and my Withings app and my gym’s app. And then all the other ones are travel related for work. It’s all part of my digital lifestyle—using technology to keep me on task, updated and organized wherever I am.
OnQ: As you’re well aware, Uplinq 2014 is just around the corner. What does Qualcomm offer developers?
Lauren: Qualcomm is not necessarily top of mind when it comes to the developer community. We’re kind of a… mobile ecosystem ambassador—we work hand-in-hand with the ecosystem, delivering value to help everyone grow their business. And we spend a tremendous amount on research and development and making Snapdragon processors a really great platform. And historically, we’ve exposed that to our OEM customers. What we’re doing for mobile app developers now is working to expose as many of these features as we can, all the way up to the application developer, so that they can also take advantage of it. So that developers can help define what a cool experience is on a Snapdragon device.
We expose them in a number of different ways—mostly through hardware tools such as our mobile development platforms and DragonBoard™, as well as software tools such as LLVM compiler, power optimization profilers like the Trepn™ Profiler and Adreno™ Profiler, and SDKs available through the Qualcomm Developer Network. That’s how developers engage with us.
OnQ: Security. It’s becoming a hot topic these days. What are your thoughts?
Lauren: There’s a lot of buzz around the legislation that just passed here in California, requiring kill switch solutions in mobile devices. It’s helped spark conversations about security in our mobile devices, which most of us tend to take for granted. It’s actually really critical in enabling many advancements in the mobile space, from mobile banking to streaming the latest high-resolution movies.
A lot of people don’t realize just how robust the security within Snapdragon processors is and how it directly impacts mobile user experiences and application security. We’re about to announce some exciting new areas of our mobile security solutions, which we’ll be talking about at Uplinq. So you’ll want to check out Raj Talluri’s session and the mobile security panel. I think you’ll find it helpful.
OnQ: Sensors are a growing opportunity out there for developers. Where do you see that going?
Lauren: Smartphones today can have as many as 14 different sensors ranging from accelerometers and pressure sensors (altitude) to magnetometer (compass) to humidity and temperature sensors. Sensors are an area where, today, a lot of data is exposed—some of it’s exposed through some standard Google APIs, the rest of it we expose to our OEMs. This is one of those areas we’d like to expose more to the developer community so they can also take advantage of sensors in a low-power always-on state—so they don’t drain a device’s battery. We’ve done quite a bit of work on our Snapdragon Sensor Core to make sure sensors work in a lower power state.
The most compelling up and coming use of sensor technology will involve the use of 6-axis game rotation vector accelerometers (e.g., driving games), 9-axis rotation vector accelerometers (indoor navigation), gyroscopes, and contextual awareness. And then you can fuse sensors, or their functions, to deliver better apps and user experiences. So imagine, you have your flight itinerary on your email in your phone… your phone uses various sensors to determine that you’re at the airport… inside… moving to the second floor… headed in the wrong direction, into the coffee shop. Your phone would then calculate how long will take to get to the gate on time and notifies you, reminding you that you need to start moving to terminal “X” if you want to make your boarding time. It can then assist you in finding your gate using inertia-assisted indoor navigation.
OnQ: What are the biggest challenges you see for all developers moving forward?
Lauren: Well, discovery. How is it that you get the consumer’s attention? How do you even stand out from the crowd? Qualcomm can’t help that directly, but we do hope that by helping developers tap into the unique capabilities of Snapdragon Processors they can create the types of experiences that help their apps and services stand out.
OnQ: Why would you encourage mobile app developers to attend Uplinq 2014?
Lauren: Qualcomm is a surprising company and we’re known for what we do in smartphones and tablets. What folks might not realize is we’re also in the wearables space, in automotive, in robotics, and even education and—the Internet of Everything.
In line with our areas of focus, Uplinq has become a broader mix of folks. We have carriers and OEMs and hardware vendors and software vendors, service providers and app developers, all who are a part of this ecosystem who need each other, talking together. It makes Uplinq a great place for business and technology.
If you’re in the mobile ecosystem, you really need to experience Uplinq.
OnQ: Thanks Lauren!