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Qualcomm’s Cristiano Amon talks 5G, global chip shortage, and more in AMA

Qualcomm recently opened the Snapdragon Insiders Program as a way to reach out to technology enthusiasts and fans of the company’s products. The program is designed to give members access to benefits such as contests, event invitations, Ask Me Anythings (AMAs), and first tips on information about new products. Today, newly appointed Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon took to Reddit for an AMA discussing Qualcomm’s current and future products.

As expected, a lot of the questions were centered on 5G, which is understandable as it becomes more common with many of this year’s best Android phones released to date. One of the questions asked was about the role of 5G on a global scale and how it can create a digital divide between people with and without access. Amon answered the contrary:

It’s actually the opposite: 5G offers a unique opportunity to democratize internet access and computing power. In addition to bringing high-speed broadband to millions, it will connect everything and everyone to the cloud and bring the computing power of the cloud to every person and device. I wrote about this for the World Economic Forum – I think policymakers should prioritize 5G rollout and unlock its potential.

His answer makes sense given the company’s aim of bringing 5G to lower prices with chips like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480. It is especially impressive given that the network is still in its infancy, which Amon points out in another comment, in which he states that the start of the 5G transition, “especially in terms of mmWave and the available 5G spectrum. While we are currently talking about MHz and GHz of spectrum, Amon is already thinking of Terahertz (THz):

See, there’s no question that wireless will continue to require more spectrum. The technology behind the mmWave spectrum applied to 5G is astonishing – it works incredibly well despite initial skepticism. THz will be the same.

The big pink elephant in the room was, of course, the global chip shortage that has plagued multiple industries and caused a shortage of devices like the PS5. It’s already affecting the best Android phones, with big players like Samsung and possibly Google feeling the effects on their production line. When asked how this is affecting Qualcomm, Amon responds by admitting that the effects of the pandemic have accelerated dependence on chips in several industries, while offering some hope that things will improve later this year:

The pandemic has significantly accelerated the digital transformation of the economy worldwide. That stimulated the demand for semiconductors for connectivity, processing and cloud in every industry. In addition, as predicted by Qualcomm, the 5G smartphone market continues to grow, reaching more than half a billion 5G devices halfway through our projections. In any case, this shortage of semiconductors underscored the importance of our technology for the future of our economy and the importance of the opportunities that lie ahead. We are optimistic that semiconductor supply constraints will improve in the second half of the calendar year.

Cristiano Amon also talks about Qualcomm’s role in automotive, VR / AR and PC chips, as well as how much he is banking. Having this kind of consumer engagement is certainly a good way to begin his tenure as CEO once his new title takes effect on June 30, and there are likely to be more engagement opportunities thanks to the Snapdragon Insider program.

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