Qualcomm's Snapdragon 850 processor takes aim at Windows 10 PCs

Noel Cummings
June 6, 2018

Qualcomm seems to be changing its processor naming strategy once again, because logically, you'd think the Snapdragon 850 would be the next iteration of its flagship mobile platform, but in fact it's just a Snapdragon 845 designed with laptop and similar form factors specifically in mind.

Qualcomm is focused on expanding its chipset business and along with making chips for mobile phones, the company is also making chips for the Internet of Things devices, VR headset, among others.

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Microsoft and Qualcomm brought Windows 10 to the Snapdragon 835 previous year to enable OEMs to build PCs that were always connected with Gigabit LTE connectivity.

"Always On, Always Connected" refers to the relatively new type of computer that doesn't completely shut down instead staying connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network even when asleep to allow for constant connectivity, similarly to how a smartphone works. The company still believes that longer battery life, an always connected device that is instant on, and a fast and constant wireless LTE connection are ingredients for a solution that consumers want and that is not being addressed by Intel or AMD today.

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Perhaps concerningly, Katouzian mentioned at the Snapdragon 850 reveal that research indicated that consumers are "willing to pay more" for devices with better battery life and Gigabit LTE connectivity. Qualcomm also claims its next generation PCs will offer 20% or faster LTE modem speeds. Meanwhile we might soon see virtual surround sound as its now supported by Qualcomm's Aqstic & aptX audio.

Though the AI market for Windows is still nascent, Qualcomm does support the Microsoft Machine Learning SDK and Windows ML with the AI Engine integration. No word on what sort of pricing we might expect, but Qualcomm has already confirmed that it's working with Samsung on at least one design.

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As a result, Nunes says that Qualcomm has "continued to enhance" Snapdragon to cater for these demands, and at Computex 2018 in Taipei on Tuesday, formally announced the Snapdragon 850 platform. It can be believed to be a successor to the Snapdragon 835 which was launched for Windows 10 devices past year.

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