The president and CEO of Qualcomm, Cristiano Amon, got interviewed by The Verge recently. He actually had a lot to say in that interview. Qualcomm CEO talked about the future (after smartphones), 6G, AR, VR, Qualcomm employees, the chip shortage, and much more.
In this article, we’ll talk about some major takeaways from that interview, while you can check out the full thing by clicking the link in the previous paragraph.
For those of you out of the loop, Cristiano Amon was the president of Qualcomm about a year ago, when he also became the company’s CEO. The chip shortage is one of the major hurdles that he signed up for, so that’s what we’ll talk about first.
Qualcomm CEO talked a lot about the future, but let’s start with chip supply
Cristiano Amon said that Qualcomm’s chip supply has increased significantly. The company is also planning for capacity expansion, though the chip shortage is not over yet. He did confirm that the situation is much better than it was, at least for Qualcomm.
When asked if he sees the end to the chip shortage, he said that Qualcomm has a “very balanced supply and demand equation as we get to summer of 2022”. He also added that other companies believe the crisis will end in 2023 or beyond that.
Qualcomm CEO added that the company outsourced the manufacturing of our chips since the beginning of the company. Qualcomm, in case you didn’t know, is one of the largest fab-less companies. That is something Qualcomm CEO confirmed.
The company has around 50,000 employees around the world
During the interview, Qualcomm CEO shared some interesting information. In addition to confirming that Qualcomm is a fab-less company, he confirmed that around 50,000 people work for Qualcomm.
The majority of the company’s employees are located in the US, though there is a presence all over the globe. What’s interesting is that Qualcomm has over 10,000 employees in India, and several thousand employees across China, Korea, Japan, and Europe.
6G may arrive by 2030
A while back, Qualcomm said that 6G will arrive by 2030. When asked about it, Cristiano Amon didn’t confirm that, but he did say that the company starts working on the next technology when the current one is “complete”. In other words, he said when the 5G is “complete”, Qualcomm starts working on 6G. He also added that Qualcomm probably has one of the largest percentages of its revenue dedicated to R&D, compared to other companies. The company starts everything around 10 years in advance.
The Verge, during the interview, said that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC “is not a great name”, and many people would agree with that statement. Cristiano Amon disagrees with that, he thinks it’s “an awesome name”.
He believes that ‘Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’ is a great name
He believes that Qualcomm needs to take things generation-by-generation, and that most people identify the Snapdragon 8 series with premium chips. He believes that consumers that buy a premium phone will ask if it supports “the latest Snapdragon 8 series”, and that the name simplifies the brand. He also confirmed that the Gen 2 is coming next year, naturally.
Cristiano Amon was also asked about the “Smartphone for Snapdragon insiders”, a phone that Qualcomm made, in a way. He was asked why would Qualcomm make a phone, considering that it’s not their business.
Qualcomm CEO said that the device was designed by ASUS, and it’s been designed to a special set of specifications just to highlight some capabilities of the Qualcomm processors. That makes sense.
VR and AR devices are the future
Cristiano Amon continued saying that smartphones are only one of Qualcomm’s focus points. There’s a lot more to think about. Both VR and AR devices are in focus as well. Smart IoT devices are “changing the enterprise in a very big way”, he said.
AR glasses were also a point of discussion during the interview. Cristiano Amon said that he has a very clear idea of what AR glasses should be. He gave out some examples, but what stood out the most to me is the voice call with AR glasses example.
AR glasses could evolve significantly in the coming years
He believes that when a person calls you, you should be able to render that person right in front of you. So, that you should essentially have a hologram or a telepresence of somebody in front of you.
Those glasses should have sensors that detect your face movements with AI. That way you’d be able to render yourself to the other person without a camera looking at you. He believes that it could change how we communicate with each other.
He even said that he expects such devices in four to five years. He also added that there are consumer devices available now, but the technology is not there yet. He believes that the display tech is a bit behind, amongst other things. Such a product could change the way we communicate, though, and even replace a smartphone to a degree. He didn’t specifically say that, but that’s the takeaway from this, AR could be huge.