Interview With Sunil Lalvani, President, Qualcomm India

Interview-With-Sunil-Lalvani,-Head,-Qualcomm-India“Qualcomm India plans for playing a key role in Make in India by facilitating Design in India for devices”: Sunil Lalvani, President, Qualcomm India

How is Qualcomm supporting Digital India and Make in India initiatives of the government?
The government’s vision is Digital India and Make in India and we are promoting it through engineering presence, design houses and Q Prize Make in India where the prize money was Rs 2 crore equity investment. The talent exists in the country as we have engineering presence in India and we do lot of chipsets capabilities and skillsets related to mobility.

Design in India is the core for Qualcomm and we have a larger role to play. We work with local engineering expertise and work with design houses based on the end product right from component selection, hardware placement on PCB, hardware testing and others. Qualcomm facilitates all these through QRD (Qualcomm Reference Design) for OEMs and local development of hardware.

How do you see mobile phone or smartphone manufacturing in India?
Indian consumers need more smartphone than what India can produce and one needs to speed up the manufacturing process. Qualcomm Reference Design helps in providing architecture or framework for building smartphone.

What kind of localization is being promoted by Qualcomm partners in India?
Car Infotainment, wearables, automotive and healthcare are emerging and Qualcomm is working on all these with respect to localization and customization.

BORQS, headquartered in Bangalore is a design house focused on making ruggedized phone for the international market. The company focuses on PCB, hardware layout, component selection, RF testing and others. BORQS Reference Board for ruggedized tablet is used not only for Indian but global market. The company is also doing wearable reference design for smart watches.

In case of Reverie, the local investment by Qualcomm Ventures has helped the company to come out with solutions that provide real time transliteration and offline translation in 14 languages. Plans are to support 50 languages and this will include 22 Indian languages.

In case of Innominds, the focus is on healthcare or medical applications whereas in case of KPIT it is car infotainment. Innominds is another design house focused on PoS (Point of Sales), medical and education solutions.

How do you see India’s smartphone growth in 2016?
In India, smartphone is growing much faster and the price delta between 3G and 4G smartphone is coming down. Lots of consumers using 3G is planning to use 4G smartphone. The carrier eco-system is moving fast as carriers like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio are fuelling 4G uptake.

First time feature phone users are also moving to 4G instead of 3G for better experience and better video. For the first time users, upgrade and uptake is moving significantly and we are also seeing 4G smartphone price points at $100 for many brands.

Qualcomm is focusing on all segments and we cater to all pricing tiers as per consumers requirement. Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 has Sense ID biometrics technology designed to make more accurate and reliable authentication possible for smartphones and is patented by Qualcomm. Offering higher levels of security and enhanced authentication experiences, these technologies, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID biometrics platform and Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology are leading the way for securing one’s device.

For benchmarking consumer buying behaviour the focus is on different parameters – camera technology, processor, battery life, downlink and uplink speeds. From our perspective, it’s not about price but it’s about the features and what we bring in as technology differentiators.

What are Qualcomm India plans for 2016?
For 2016, Qualcomm India plans for playing a key role in Make in India by facilitating Design in India for devices such as smartphones, wearables and tablets. Qualcomm Ventures has plans to invest up to $150 million in Indian startup companies across all stages.

For global and Chinese OEMs, the focus is on QRD architecture and localization. There is focus on driving consumer awareness about the superior features of Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and its benefits through online and offline channel partners. The engineer services group focus is on operators and carriers for improving 4G Plus and 4G network.

On the corporate level the focus is on 5G, application eco-system and content eco-system.

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