2004. Qualcomm

Getting Mobile

My service at Qualcomm began as a contractor in 2004. The Portland Design Center where I worked was such a great place and the mobile market was so fascinating that I became an fulltime staff engineer until 2009.

Many people don’t know that Qualcomm got its start in communications for long haul trucking. On my first project, we specified and wrote the first version of Qualcomm Hours of Service, a driver-tracking package used on most long haul trucks in the United States.

Next I got on a team creating prototype applications for emerging markets. In this capacity, I wrote Short Voice Service, a BREW reference application for peer-to-peer voice messaging, a variation of which is now in use in India.


Qualcomm helps makers of new phones to set up their operating systems on advance board-size builds of handsets. This gave me the chance to work on an upcoming release of Windows Mobile running on Snapdragon. I adapted a DirectShow transform filter in Windows Mobile to use the on board DSP.

Each year there is a contest for new business ideas in the company. In the first year of VentureFest, I was asked to help get the Portland into into action. Our office had 70 people compared with 12,000 in the entire company. Three of the final twelve VentureFest teams had members from Portland.

My own team was able to start a new research initiative in image-recognition-based search using mobile phones. I pitched in by writing part of the business plan, the BREW and Windows Mobile client demo applications and the project web site.

One last project at Qualcomm was to help a local non-profit successfully pitch for funding to create mobile phone-based motivation tools for their low-income health care program as described in this article. It turned out this would influence what I did next.