FORTUNE -- Smartphones are soooo 2013.
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, mobile chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) -- whose wireless components are found in the vast majority of the world's cell phones -- chose instead to talk about how its chips can be used for fledgling markets such as connected cars, wearables, and smart televisions.
The annual tech confab officially started today. On Monday, the San Diego-based company announced a series of products it hopes will entice automakers and other atypical customers to use its technology to make their products "smarter." Among the announcements: a new processor for the automotive industry; the commercial availability of AllPlay, Qualcomm's platform for streaming music across different gadgets; and new Snapdragon-branded chipsets for high-end television sets.
Why the sudden shift away from its mobile roots? It's simple. Qualcomm has the upper hand in smartphones, a cash cow it can keep milking for years to come. But it knows that growth in high-end mobile devices is already starting to wane, at least in mature markets such as North America. Ergo, Qualcomm is pushing to get its chips and IP inside all sorts of still-"dumb" objects, from washing machines to watches.
MORE: Everything is connected
Smartphones, it turns out, are just the tip of the spear. "We're seeing the trend of the smartphone leading us to growth in other industries," incoming CEO Steve Mollenkopf told the audience in a question-and-answer session in Las Vegas.
Qualcomm has a lot riding on the so-called Internet of Things, but despite years of promise the connected home is still far from reality for mainstream consumers. There are interoperability issues that still need to be worked out. (Of course, Qualcomm says it has a solution for that problem.) More importantly, the industry has yet to prove that toasters with "smarts" are better -- and worth the added cost -- than those without. Wearables, another area in which Qualcomm is investing, also has a lot to prove, despite the hype surrounding products like the new stainless steel Pebble smartwatch. And as for cars, well, let's just say this isn't the first CES that's been touted as the year connected automobiles finally make it big.
Qualcomm is not the only semiconductor company trying to show off its embedded-application expertise. Rival Intel (INTC) wasn't exactly born mobile -- the company has barely made a dent in an industry that quickly grew to supplant one it dominated -- but it is already trying to prove that it's a contender in burgeoning markets like wearables and the connected home. On Monday, Intel showed off smart headsets, watches and earphones, as well as a bowl-like device that wirelessly charges the depleted batteries of mobile devices. It also introduced a new system-on-a-chip for wearables named Edison, touted as a computer the size of an SD card.
With innovations like that, who cares about smartphones anymore?
If tablets are computers, Apple's share of the global market now dwarfs its competitors
Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore came away from this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas unimpressed with what Apple's (AAPL) rivals had to offer in the way of tablet computers:
"2011 was supposed to be the year of the Android tablet. One year later, Android tablets have failed to meet expectations and for the most part have been MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 13, 2012 7:12 AM ET
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* Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage for the company's final C.E.S. keynote, which mostly played up eccentricity and flash over substance, including an appearance by Ryan Seacrest and a "Tweet Choir" (see video above) that sang Microsoft- and CES-related tweets. Ballmer did make mention of progress on the MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jan 10, 2012 11:19 AM ET
Suddenly the smartphone in your pocket doesn't seem so hot.
Motorola's(MMI) Atrix was certainly the standout product of CES but I'm still waiting for some first hand usage before I'm ready to declare it a winner. The Atrix has a 4" 960x540 qHD display, dual core NVidia Tegra chip with 1GB of RAM. If those seem more like low-end computer specs than smartphone specs, it is no surprise then that the MORESeth Weintraub - Jan 28, 2011 3:36 PM ET
On the anniversary of the iconic tablet's unveiling, the ranks of its imitators is swelling
It's been one year to the day since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad, and to mark the occasion we're reposting, below the fold, the most compete list we've seen of the tablet computers unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas three weeks ago.
It comes courtesy of CES director of research Shawn Dubravec via the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 27, 2011 11:03 AM ET
Apple's acting chief dismisses them as "heavy," "bizarre" and nothing but "vapor"
The biggest surprise in the earnings results Apple (AAPL) released Tuesday has to be the number of iPads it shipped in its Christmas quarter: 7.33 million, up nearly 75% from the 4.19 million sold in the previous quarter.
Given how many me-too products were displayed or announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week -- more than MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 19, 2011 10:22 AM ET
Google will start to push mobile services that help, before you even ask.
When Google (GOOG) Instant was released, everyone was impressed at how fast search results came back, usually before you finished typing. But Google wants to bring you results before you even type.
Google and Android's next big thing is contextual discovery.
Imagine looking at your mobile device and, based on your location, time of day, past behavior and maybe even the characters MORESeth Weintraub - Jan 6, 2011 2:08 PM ET
A curated selection of the day's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web.
At CES, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed the company's plans to expand its motion-based Xbox 360 Kinect controller, which has already sold more than 8 million units, beyond gaming. Users can expect hands-free navigation of Netflix and (finally) Hulu Plus, as well as body motion capture for a new feature called Avatar Kinect, which will map the MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jan 6, 2011 8:45 AM ET
I'm not so sure Google wanted it to be released like this but here you go...
Notables include the Google Talk video chat, the new UI and the integration of Books, Youtube, Gmail and Google's other properties.
The video was briefly posted to YouTube in the Android developers account, then taken down. Android Police then reposted it and Google has yet to pull it from YouTube since the cat is now out MORESeth Weintraub - Jan 5, 2011 5:49 PM ET
Dozens of tablets! Dual-core processors in your phone! LED backlighting for everyone! Live in 3D, with the inevitable pounding headache! Here's our preview of what's coming out of Vegas this week.
Take your typical Best Buy (BBY) store and multiply it by 100,000. Next, throw in quarter-mile long lines for everything food-related. Add the unmistakable arrival of the adult entertainment industry. Combine all that, and you pretty much have a feeling MOREMichael V. Copeland, Senior Writer - Jan 4, 2011 11:45 AM ET
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