What happened?
Mobile chip maker Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has dialed up a bigger payout to its stockholders. The company on March 8 declared a fresh quarterly dividend of $0.53 per share, 10% higher than the most recent distribution.

Image source: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr. 

This is typical for the company, which tends to raise its dividend once per year around the same time. It also habitually lifts it at a chunky rate; its 2015 hike was a 14% improvement. Qualcomm has not yet specified when the new dividend will be paid, or what its record date will be. It will be effective for dividends payable after March 23. At the current share price, it yields just over 4% -- nearly double the average of dividend-paying stocks on the S&P 500 index.

Does it matter?
Any dividend from a tech company can be considered good news, no matter how habitual and expected. After all, such a payout is very much the exception rather than the rule in the sector, as tech companies tend to plow their earnings back into their business in order to fund the next hot gadget or piece of software.

Qualcomm is a successful company, but it's done better in the past. Its Q1 showed worrying erosion in both revenue and net profit, which dropped by 19% and 24%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis. The smartphone market (for which the company is a key supplier) isn't as hot as it was, and Qualcomm's patent-licensing business was relatively weak during the quarter.

With that as a backdrop, investors can probably figure that this latest -- and not unexpected -- dividend raise won't have a huge impact on the stock. Investors are worried about Qualcomm's prospects, and a $0.05-per-share addition to the payout is not going to change that.

Still, despite its struggles, the company is still a top name in the mobile chip world, and it's inked some key deals so far this young year. The fundamentals are a bit of a roller coaster, as is the stock, but the company is well in the black even in these comparably lean times.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm has the means -- and clearly the desire -- to keep that dividend flowing, so I would expect future annual raises, and generous ones at that.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.