Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM ) Inc.'s President and CEO, Cristiano Amon, believes that artificial intelligence (AI) could rejuvenate the smartphone market. Amon shared his outlook during an interview with CNBC's Arjun Kharpal on Tuesday, expressing optimism about the potential of AI in mobile technology.
Amon stated that Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon Summit in October could herald significant advancements in mobile technology. According to him, the summit will highlight novel use cases from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that could trigger a new upgrade cycle for smartphones. However, he did not provide a specific timeline for these developments.
The Qualcomm CEO also contrasted the company's approach to AI with that of its main competitor, Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA ). While Nvidia focuses on bringing AI to data centers, Qualcomm aims to integrate AI into smartphones and other devices. "We're in a slightly different segment ... I think we see an opportunity," Amon said.
This strategic pivot towards AI comes at a time when global smartphone sales are experiencing a slump. According to data from market research firm IDC, smartphone sales in 2022 fell by 11.3% year-over-year to 1.21 billion units — the lowest level since 2013. The decline is attributed to consumers becoming more cost-conscious and seeing little difference between current and older phone models, which already boast sophisticated cameras and processors.
Despite this challenging environment, Amon remains confident about Qualcomm's direction. He cited Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT )'s efforts with PCs as an example of how local running of models like ChatGPT could significantly impact consumers once they get their hands on these technologies.
Amon's comments came ahead of CES 2022, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 4-7. The event saw some companies opting for virtual participation or canceling their attendance due to a significant surge in COVID-19 cases.
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