Qualcomm hopes to attract developers with mobile TV and digital glasses SDKs

Developers can download the LTE Broadcast SDK and sign up for a beta test of the Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear

Qualcomm has released SDKs (software development kits) for LTE broadcast and digital glasses at its Uplinq conference, hoping to give the two burgeoning areas a push.

One of the biggest challenges mobile operators face is handling the growing amount of video traffic in their networks. One potential savior is multicast technology LTE broadcast, which delivers content such as TV broadcasts to multiple people at once instead of sending a separate stream to each user. The result is less strain on the network, which is especially good in places such as sports arenas.

With the LTE Broadcast SDK, which has been optimized for Snapdragon-based devices, developers can integrate the technology into their Android apps, according to Qualcomm. Besides video and TV, it can be used to distribute software updates and stream music.

Earlier this year, Korean carrier KT launched the world's first LTE broadcast network using the Galaxy Note 3 from Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm's middleware for streaming video and file delivery. Carriers such as Vodafone, Three, China Mobile, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are testing or have tested the technology.

More large-scale commercial services are expected to be launched next year. But launching LTE broadcast isn't just about getting the technology right -- coming up with a working business model and choosing what content to distribute and where are equally important.

On Thursday, Qualcomm also announced the Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear. Vuforia is Qualcomm's augmented reality platform, which has in the past been used on smartphone apps to superimpose computer-generated content over a live camera view. With the new SDK, the platform offers functionality for recognizing images and objects in the user's field of view. Apps can then use that information to decide what to show the user.

Qualcomm hopes developers will create new types of games as well as shopping, educational and industrial apps. The SDK is compatible with Epson's Moverio BT-200, the Oculus-based Gear VR from Samsung and the ODG R-7. The latter pair were announced Thursday and are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 processor.

A limited beta of the SDK will become available this fall, Qualcomm said. Developers who are turned on by the idea of testing the kit can apply to take part on Qualcomm's website.

The LTE Broadcast SDK can be downloaded from Qualcomm's website now.

At first glance it might not make sense for Qualcomm to spend its resources on developer tools. However, anything that results in sales of more devices with its processors (in this case, more apps) is good for the company's bottom line.

At the Uplinq conference, Qualcomm gave a sneak peek at the graphics capabilities of the upcoming 64-bit Snapdragon 810 chipset, as well. Smartphones and tablets powered by the processor will go on sale during the first half of next year, the company confirmed.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

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