Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs was just a few minutes into his Monday evening CES keynote when a surprise visitor bounded across the stage -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer -- briefly delaying Qualcomm's big chip announcement.
Ballmer famously gave what was widely reported as his CES-swan song at last year’s show where he had given the opening keynote for years.
Jacobs had just started talking about the millions of chips Qualcomm ships for smartphones and tablets when Ballmer appeared to thank the chip maker and tout Windows 8 software and the new smartphones and tablets that depend on it.
Ballmer said Windows 8 now has four times the number of apps in the Windows Store than it did at the launch in late October. He mentioned CNN, Huffington Post, Twitter and a few others that many in the audience were probably surprised to hear weren’t already on the platform.
But Ballmer also made a point of reminding the crowd that Windows 8 tablets are the only ones to run Office apps including Word, Excel PowerPoint and OneNote.
“You can have some fun but also be productive,” said Ballmer.
There has been speculation for the past year that Microsoft would release a version of Office for the iPad, but it continues to keep the popular suite of apps reserved for Windows when it comes to mobile devices.
As for Qualcomm's big news ...
During his keynote, Jacobs announced Qualcomm’s new flagship processor, the 800-series of quad-core Snapdragons due out later this summer. Each processor can run as fast as 2.3 GHz. Jacobs said the 800 series Snapdragon would make its way into smartphones and tablets by the second half of this year.
“This is the most advanced wireless processor ever built,” Jacobs boasted. “It’s the first super premium processor for smartphones and tablets with 75% better performance than its predecessors."
He said Qualcomm has over 50 design wins (i.e. smartphones and tablets) that will use either the company’s current 600 or upcoming 800 series Snapdragon.
Other features of the 800 series include built in support for the latest LTE broadband connectivity and download speeds of 150 megabits-per-second for much faster video downloads.
The event wrapped up with a three song set by the band Maroon5 which drew plenty of cheers and applause from the packed hall.