Early this year we made our annual trip to Las Vegas to cover CES. I chose to focus on all the semiconductor companies since I’m processor nerd, and I scheduled meetings with Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and NVIDIA. After talking with each company and interviewing a couple employees (like NVIDIA’s Michael Rayfield), I came away with a wealth of knowledge about the mobile industry.

I studied everyone’s position and strategies then predicted NVIDIA would win round 1 of the dual-core wars because of their time to market advantage, premium content strategy, and consumer marketing. When it came to Android tablets, that turned out to be mostly true. NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 processor controlled 70% of the Android tablet market until just recently. Now the low-priced Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet have sold millions, all of which used Texas Instruments’ OMAP4 processor.

As we gear up for CES again, I am starting to wonder who could come out on top in 2012. One company I expect to do extremely well is Qualcomm, who completely overhauled their Snapdragon brand this year.

For an example of how far Qualcomm has come, check out this response to a question I asked Raj Talluri, VP of Product Management at Qualcomm, back at CES.

Q: Does Qualcomm have a strategy to highlight premium content designed for dual-core Snapdragon products? Similar to NVIDIA’s Tegra Zone?
A: We allow the operators to differentiate their devices. The most important customers for us are the phone makers and the operators, not the end-user who buys the phone.

Qualcomm use to openly admit they were not focused on the end-user, but that has completely changed in the span of under a year. In 2011 we saw Qualcomm launch a new site for Snapdragon, go after the competition, reveal Snapdragon Game Pack for OEMs, change the naming conventions for Snapdragon processors, invite us to demo their Snapdragon S4 processor, talk up mobile gaming, launch a viral video, announce Snapdragon GameCommand, show off Android 4.0, promote dual-core location, and now they are renaming Qualcomm Stadium to Snapdragon Stradium.

All efforts to increase the Snapdragon brand awareness.

Snapdragon Stadium will be their boldest move yet, with over 30 million people expected to watch the three football games that are planned at the stadium during the 10 day promotion. Game include the Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens Sunday Night Football on Dec. 18, the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 21, and the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28.

Tim McDonough, Qualcomm VP of Marketing, described the reasons behind the name switch in a company blog post. Tim said, “When it comes to mobile tech, consumers are becoming more and more savvy. It’s only natural that these same consumers want to understand how their mobile devices work. By renaming Qualcomm Stadium to Snapdragon Stadium, we are creating more mobile user awareness of Snapdragon processors, which in turn will allow us to inform these same consumers on how Snapdragon processors help their smartphones and tablets do more.”

Dan Novak, another Qualcomm spokesman, echoed his remarks by saying, “We want people, when they are thinking about buying their next device, to ask if it has Snapdragon inside.”

Based on the way things have been going, I would say they are off to a good start. Now their next biggest challenge will be convincing the carriers to actually put the Snapdragon S1, S2, S3, and S4 logos on the product packaging, since this type of information is often hidden from customers.

What is your opinion of the Snapdragon brand? Do we have any brand loyalist that will only buy mobile devices with Snapdragon processors? Let us know what direction you would like to see Qualcomm take next.

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