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"The iPhone has no secret for you?" the job listing posted earlier this month reads. "Well, that's what you think... join us and develop the most challenging product of your life!"
Qualcomm built the first CDMA-based cellular base station in the early '90s. Today, CDMA is used by a number of carriers around the world, most notably Verizon Wireless in the U.S. Recent rumors have suggested that Apple is eyeing an early 2011 launch for a Verizon-compatible CDMA iPhone.
In addition to creating CDMA chips, Qualcomm also works to ensure that mobile platforms run well with the company's wireless technology. For example, it has an established Android Team at Qualcomm Innovation Center, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, that aims to make Google's mobile operating system run better on the company's chipsets.
Ajay Dudani, staff engineer and manager at the Innovation Center, admitted earlier this year that many people do not understand Qualcomm's role in the industry. He talked about how he works to optimize Android for Qualcomm's hardware.
"At a very high level, our software teams work to get Android platform running optimally on Qualcomm chipsets in terms of power, performance and new features," he said. "We are also responsible for bringing up the Android platform on new chipsets, making sure our software ports are up to date with the latest public releases of the Android platform and helping ensure compatibility to avoid fragmentation."
Qualcomm's role in improving software performance on its hardware may shed light on why the CDMA chipset is looking to hire an iPhone software developer. Currently, under the company's list of supported OS platforms, only Windows Phone, Android and Brew Mobile Platform are listed. The Qualcom Developer Network also only offers support for those three platforms.
It's also possible, however, that Qualcomm is looking to hire for another software-based venture, such as its FLO TV mobile video platform. This year the company partnered with Mophie to release a case that brought FLO TV to the iPhone and iPod touch. But Qualcomm is also shopping for a buyer for the unprofitable FLO TV.
Qualcomm's job application does note that it is looking for a candidate that has been "exposed to application or game development on mobile for years," and seeks an employee who has experience with wide ranging skills including Objective C and Xcode, UI design, and file, network and socket programming.
Rumors of a deal between Qualcomm and Apple have existed for months, and are always connected with a Verizon-compatible CDMA iPhone. The iPhone currently relies on chipsets from Infineon for its 3G HSDPA network access.
Numerous reports have claimed that Apple has already built and is testing a CDMA iPhone, code-named N92, that would run on the Verizon network. IT is said that the hardware is in the engineering verification test phase, which is two steps away from full-fledged production.