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SDSU Provost Nancy Marlin (left) and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs take questions from the audience.

Qualcomm CEO Shares the Future of Mobile Tech

Paul Jacobs' presentation was part of the inaugural SDSU President's Lecture Series.
By Lorena Nava Ruggero

With 450 million smartphones sold last year, it’s becoming more and more evident that mobile technology is changing the world, said Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs during SDSU's inaugural President’s Lecture Series.

Held Tuesday, Jan. 31, and live-streamed over the Internet, Jacobs spoke to 300-plus guests about how wireless technology can change global quality of life.

“People at the bottom of the economic pyramid are going to have their first access to the Internet over a smartphone,” Jacobs said in regards to the introduction of smartphones in emerging markets like India.

Changing lives with mobile technology

Jacobs also shared a Qualcomm video depicting the value mobile technology plays in lives around the world. The video included a heart disease patient in China, a fisherman in India, a teenage student in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and a creative director in New York City.

The video showed how smartphone and tablet technology has transformed their lives, whether it was sending real-time heart rate data to their doctor or using a tablet for school. According to Jacobs, the transformative power of mobile technology is most evident in healthcare, where services can be provided in a more timely and cost-effective fashion thanks to Qualcomm's and other companies' efforts.

In terms of his own experience, Jacobs noted how he no longer relies on a laptop when he travels.

“The present of computing is mobile, not the future,” Jacobs said.

After the lecture, Provost Nancy Marlin fielded business-related questions from the audience, which included students, faculty, community members and alumni. Following the Q&A session, basketball head coach Steve Fisher did a “rapid fire” of personal questions, from the last book Jacobs read (Stephen King’s “11/22/63”) to his favorite movie (“Monty Python and the Holy Grail”).

A recorded version of the lecture will be available on the SDSU YouTube channel at

About the President’s Lecture Series

The President’s Lecture Series shows Aztecs and the wider community how “Leadership starts here” at San Diego State University. Introduced by President Elliot Hirshman, the new series aims to invite leaders from a variety of disciplines to speak about their expertise and their passion.

Whether it's leadership on campus, in the community, in science and technology research, or in business, SDSU is at the forefront of creating new leaders every day. For more information on how “Leadership starts here,” visit The Campaign for SDSU.

About Paul Jacobs

Paul E. Jacobs is chairman of Qualcomm’s board of directors and the company’s chief executive officer. A leader in the field of mobile communications for more than two decades and a key architect of Qualcomm’s strategic vision, Jacobs’ responsibilities include leadership and oversight of all the company’s initiatives and operations.

Through his technology innovations and advocacy, Jacobs spearheaded Qualcomm’s efforts to develop and commercialize mobile technology breakthroughs that have contributed significantly to the growth of both the company and the industry, including the first Palm OS-based smartphone and the inclusion of GPS capabilities in mobile phones.

Jacobs received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi honor societies.