At Qualcomm's CES press event, CEO-elect Steve Mollenkopf took the stage to share his optimistic -- and perhaps a slightly surprising -- vision of 2014. The exec believes that as OSes are becoming more robust and feature-rich, phone makers like Nokia, Samsung, LG and Sony will make a second coming in the tablet market. This becomes an opportunity for Qualcomm and carriers to cash in, with the latter coming up with more innovative and creative ways to bring in more subscriptions, such as by selling the smartphone and the tablet as a pair. Mollenkopf also name-dropped the Amazon Kindle HDX and the Nexus 7 tablets, which are all powered by his company's Snapdragon chips.

"Remember, we look at the market as a long game, so when we look at OSes and how they're doing and how we're progressing, we can be nothing but pleased with how we think that's setting up long term," Mollenkopf said.

Much like how smart wearables -- including Qualcomm's own Toq -- are just becoming a trend, cars in general are also still in the phase of trying to get connected, said Qualcomm's ex-COO. Despite its absence in the recently formed Open Automotive Alliance (which is joined by rival NVIDIA), the chip giant thinks it can bring its connectivity expertise to the automobile industry, which is what the recently announced Snapdragon 602a aims to achieve.

"The next phase is the car is going to not only get connected to the internet, but it's going to be connected to other cars, and it's going to be doing a lot more sensing on what's going on in the environment, and making decisions as to what it's going to do. In order to do that, it needs to embrace technologies that are very similar to what you have in high-end smartphones."

Mollenkopf assured us that Qualcomm's not done with smartphones yet, though. The exec's still seeing rapid development in the emerging markets in terms of features, though he didn't give an indication on when 64-bit mobile processing -- as supported by the entry-level Snapdragon 410 -- will become mainstream. Let's not forget that there's also full-on LTE deployment in China this year, which Mollenkopf said he's keen to be a big part of.