I suspect there's debate inside Qualcomm about licensing its cores as a way to gain revenue and expand its ecosystem of developers. Rival Nvidia announced it will license Kepler, its latest GPU core for use in mobile SoCs, but it is under more competitive pressures than Qualcomm in mobile.
Separately, Renduchintala called attention to the difficulties building a 4G phone with global roaming. In 3G you needed to support five GSM, four UMTS, and two CDMA bands. But LTE is used in more than 50 bands globally, some combining two or three channels to create a broadband link.
"The permutations are beyond comprehension -- that's a big challenge, and we are investing heavily in solving it."
Renduchintala declined to comment on any plans for an ARM server SoC, despite Qualcomm's ads advertising for engineers to join a team to build them.
"We're looking to leverage the R&D we put into being leaders in smartphones to be in other markets," he said. But as for server SoCs, "if we were to enter into that space it would not be a me-too product; it will have to be differentiated."
I applaud Qualcomm's strategy that expects excellence of its people. However, I'd also caution there's a long history of not-invented-here (NIH) syndrome leading tech companies into trouble. Qualcomm's two biggest rivals are Apple, another candidate for NIH syndrome, and Samsung, a giant known for trying everything and sticking with what works.
Qualcomm has an increasingly interesting relationship with Samsung, which is both a top customer and competitor. The Korean giant's willingness to try whatever works -- even buying or selling competitor technology -- might come in handy if the winds of fortune ever change direction down in balmy San Diego.