How Qualcomm managed to create the BlackBerry of this decade.
I started in telephony in the 1980s at IBM’s ROLM division and was responsible for the competitive analysis of PC-based phones growing there. The market wanted an integrated offer that combined voice communication with the computer. Despite tools like Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams and efforts like Dell and Microsoft to install smartphone displays on PCs, four decades later we must fully accept the merger.
After the collapse of all PC / PBX companies, the only American company that is able to do this today is Qualcomm. This week, the company unveiled on its PC platform, which was designed to address connectivity and battery life, pain points that existed long before the pandemic. The company covered the benefits of battery life measured in days, the security and availability that come with an ever-active WAN connection, as well as the extra weight and flexibility advantages of its technology.
Qualcomm has tools like artificial intelligence that could be applied to create an even more attractive solution. The provider could turn your personal computer into something better suited to today’s needs than today’s computers by integrating wireless voice communications.
Let’s explore this this week.
Before the iPhone, there was ROLM Cedar
Rolm Cedar Vintage Computing and Gaming Vintage Computing and Gaming ROLM Cedar, as it appears in the January 1985 issue of BYTE magazine, courtesy of Vintage Computing and Gaming.
While Simon IBM, launched in 1994, is often credited as the first smartphone, ROLM Cedar preceded it by almost a decade. Since it was a PC phone, it could be argued that it was actually the first smartphone. It was unusual and transmitted a status (computers were still new at the time), so only top executives got them. It tends to collapse a bit, which is especially bad for a phone, but it has integrated communication methods in a way that we still can’t do today, and the discussion groups liked it (when it worked).
It was also one of the first connected PCs to precede the widespread implementation of Ethernet, much less Wi-Fi, which did not appear until years later. But you can receive e-mail and voice messages on the same screen. It also had a caller ID, which did not exist before, and obtained not only the person’s name, but also the title and history of CRM-like messages (this was before CRM). Oh, and you could find out if the call you were receiving was from inside or outside the company, which you need to avoid a successful phishing attack or phishing spear. All this happened in the 1980s.
What made ROLM Cedar possible (and we weren’t the only ones working on this) was that PBXs and computer companies were somewhat integrated back then.
Next Smart PC or PC Phone
Today we live from video conversations, which we generally do on our computers, but we still receive text messages and audio calls on our phones. Under no circumstances do we automatically receive detailed information about the people we are talking to, and we cannot easily switch between video conferencing calls as we can on call on our phones. We have several video conferencing clients that do not work with each other, do not integrate with other forms of communication and do not allow us to move perfectly between types of calls or callers.
What if they did? What if you created a state-of-the-art smart device, just like Lamborghini did by rethinking Countach (which just sold out of production despite its $ 2.5 million price tag) and you created a modern modular Cedar? Of course, we would need a new industrial design, because Cedar has not aged well, but the concept is still there.
I wonder if this new PC phone could be a modernized BlackBerry, given the security concerns we have now. You could operate from the cloud using something like Windows 365, a virtual cloud instance for your computer, for almost unlimited computing performance. It can be supplemented with keyboards, mice and wireless monitors whenever you want on the desk or use a keyboard with flap, trackpad and display for when you need something more portable. And it could integrate today’s communication methods, video conferencing clients and CRM databases, along with BlackBerry-level security, to create the professional smartphone for this decade.
Conclusion: the time is now
Like Cedar, it was built from the beginning to the beginning of the PC era to take advantage of the PBX and PC revolutions, a similar effort focused on video collaboration, cloud services, CRM, security, artificial intelligence and IT capabilities. it could give us something unique. .
We have the technology; we are simply waiting for an intellectual property company to unite it and change the market. Someone will notice this. It reminds me that both Microsoft and Palm Cloud made the first iPhone, and they both made internal efforts to develop their own versions of the smartphone. Both companies had more potential than Apple, but Apple executed.
When it comes to the PC phone, the only company that has the technology, knowledge and deep partnerships to do this in the US, anyway, is Qualcomm. (Elsewhere, Samsung could probably do this, as could Huawei.) On paper, Apple could do the same, but it would make the iPad, iPhone, or Mac redundant, and the company’s strategy is to increase the number of products. . a person buys; eliminating one would be counter-strategic. Qualcomm is a technology provider and is more interested in churn and opening up new markets, making it a strategic mixed alternative platform for it.
The world has changed a lot since the creation of the computer and the smartphone. It is time for someone to rethink these technologies in the current reality of artificial intelligence, cloud, security and work from home.