Growth Of On-Device AI 'Could Create A New Upgrade Cycle For Phones'

Cristiano Amon
CEO of Qualcomm

AI is when intelligence is shown on non-living things, and that its more than just an anticipated technology for the future.

By making computers smarter by learning things they way humans do, AI is among the most transformative technologies humanity has ever seen.

While many people are afraid of it, with some saying that it's the greatest risk, and that it's the "single largest danger, an entity that cannot be defeated, a catastrophe, there are indeed a lot of things that the technology can do, at least in the foreseeable future.

And that includes, among others, improving the way smartphones work.

According to Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, on-device AI has the ability to bring new life to phones.

Cristiano Amon
Cristiano Amon.

Speaking with CNBC, Cristiano Amon said that:

"The Snapdragon Summit will be centered around incredible use cases for our original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and mobile phones. It may create a new upgrade cycle for mobile phones."

"While we Don’t know exactly when, but it will definitely happen."

Tech companies, including Qualcomm, have to deal with the fact that smartphone sales have steadily declined in more recent years.

In 2022, for example, global smartphone sales experienced an 11.3% decline year-over-year, reaching their lowest level since 2013.

With high-end smartphones becoming more and more expensive, they also become more durable and can last longer. With consumers becoming more cost-conscious, there aren't many things that incentive users to upgrade their devices.

This is where Amon believes that AI has the potential to reinvigorate the market.

The executive expressed his optimism about the future of the smartphone market, by seeing the pace AI is developing and advancing.

Because the hardware components that can be embedded inside phones are becoming more and more capable and also more powerful, it's possible to run AI models locally on smartphones.

For example, on-device AI could be used to introduce some new abilities that weren't available before. Like AI-powered optimization for battery life and camera performance, as well as voice recognition, and AI that can be used to personalize the user experience, by learning from the user’s behavior and choices.

This could lead to more intuitive and seamless interactions with the device.

Another potential use of on-device AI, also include augmented reality (AR). By using AI to run AR content locally, mobile devices could provide more immersive and realistic AR experiences.

According to Amon, this is a significant advancement.

By bringing AI capabilities to the device level, Qualcomm aims to differentiate itself from its semiconductor rival Nvidia, which focuses more on AI in data centers.

"We’re in a slightly different segment of the market," Ammon said. "I think we see an opportunity. Once that opportunity becomes a reality, it will be vindicated for our efforts."

"Being able to observe market activity is important. We have heard a lot about generative AI, such as ChatGPT and some other large language models, which are all running on data centers. We are doing some different and that is actually bringing AI to (personal) devices."

He emphasized the importance of seeing the progress and activity in this space.

With smartphones becoming a lot smarter with AI, the CEO believes that once the opportunity materializes, the impact shall be evident.