Qualcomm and Qt partner to supercharge UI development for IoT devices

Plus: Qualy punts a 'micro-power' Wi-Fi system for the industrial kit

Qualcomm and Qt Group are looking to make it easier to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for embedded systems using Qt's cross-platform development tools, while Qualcomm has also unveiled a micro-power Wi-Fi system for IoT connectivity.

Chipmaker Qualcomm and software outfit Qt said they were working within their existing collab in automotive technology to reduce time to market for IoT device makers.

The move sees the Qt platform ported to key Qualcomm system-on-chip (SoC) products to streamline the process of developing and testing user interfaces for such devices. It also speeds the development of system-on-modules (SoM) that can be used as the basis for products such as robots or security cameras, Qt said.

Qt provides a cross-platform framework for GUI and app development that has already been used with Qualcomm's automotive products for dashboard displays and the like, but the pair saw an opportunity to expand to embedded and IoT devices.

"Qt Group has had a relationship with Qualcomm for over ten years," Senior Product Manager Roger Mazella told The Register. "This was more of a technical collaboration making sure the Qt development framework could be integrated and used to develop UI/UX on Qualcomm SoCs."

Both Qualcomm and Qt knew that expanding the partnership with a new focus on the IoT industry would work out well for both vendors, Mazella said.

"We have now integrated Qt technology not only to include Qualcomm SoCs whose focus will be in the IoT industry, but also will include their next generation SoCs for both the automotive and IoT industries," he added. "As Qualcomm's next generation SoCs are released, Qt will continue to be pre-integrated and ready for users to develop UI/UX on them."

The alternative for hardware that is not integrated out of the box would require a professional service to do the integrations, adding time and cost, Mazella claimed.

Using Qt, IoT device makers can even apply 3D graphics to their device's UI, if desired. Other frameworks also cater to high-fidelity graphics, but the Qt framework tailors its output to run the UIs on lower hardware requirements, the company claims.

The initial Qualcomm products that have Qt support are listed below, but this will be expanded in future, based upon customer demand.

  • Qualcomm SA8155P
  • Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Development Kit
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820D
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8155P
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 6155P
  • Qualcomm 8195

Meanwhile, Qualcomm is also using the Embedded World conference in Germany this week to unveil a micro-power Wi-Fi chip for IoT connectivity. This is claimed to use 88 percent less power than previous silicon and is aimed at battery-powered products in industrial, commercial, and consumer applications.

The QCC730 supports Wi-Fi 4 and dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) operation for 802.11 a/b/g/n compatibility. That's a few revisions behind the latest Wi-Fi 7 gear, but then this chip is aimed at embedded devices and said to consume just 0.5 mW per Mbps of transmission speed.

Although the chip will typically be paired with an SoC running the embedded code, it also has its own onboard Arm Cortex-M4F core with a modest amount of SRAM and non-volatile memory, while an open source SDK will also be available

Qualcomm touts the QCC730 as a high-performance alternative to Bluetooth for IoT applications, and it is available now.

The chipmaker also unveiled the Qualcomm RB3 Gen 2, a platform designed for IoT and embedded applications, based on its QCS6490 SoC. This has support for 8 MP+ camera sensors and integrated Wi-Fi 6E, and is also supported by Qualcomm's recently announced AI Hub, the company said. This available for pre-order now. ®

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