Qualcomm opens subsidiary focused on open source

The group will optimize Symbian, Android, Linux and other open software for Qualcomm hardware

Qualcomm has built a new subsidiary to better integrate its products with mobile open-source software, in hopes of capitalizing on the trend toward open platforms in the mobile industry.

The wholly owned subsidiary, called Qualcomm Innovation Center, currently consists of software engineers who work on hardware-optimizing, open-source mobile operating systems and applications, the company said.

The engineers will work on software including Linux and Webkit as well as operating systems including Symbian, Android and Chrome, it said.

In opening the new group, Qualcomm is following a clear trend in the mobile industry. According to a recent report from Juniper Research, 60 percent of the smartphone market is using an open-source operating system.

As smartphones continue to make up a growing portion of the mobile-phone market, sales of open-source smartphones are expected to grow.

Smartphones shipped with open-source operating systems will increase from 106 million in 2009 to 223 million by 2014, Juniper said.

Qualcomm did not say how many people would work in the new subsidiary.

Its Web site is advertising at least one open engineering position, based in San Diego, for the group.

The job description said that Qualcomm Innovation Center "will concentrate on Linux and Android software code development and will actively participate in the open source community."

The company did not immediately reply to a request for additional details about the subsidiary.

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