Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon told journalists Wednesday that the chip giant is not going to give up on its always-connected PC efforts, and indeed today at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit in Maui debuted the world’s first 7 nanometer PC platform.
The next-generation platform – Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform – features more powerful computing performance, multi-day battery life, and multi-gigabit speed connectivity.
Qualcomm said its Kryo 495 CPU is the fastest yet and the Adreno 680 GPU provides two times performance improvement and 60 percent greater power efficiency compared to the previous generation platform. The memory interface has been doubled from 64 bit to 128 bit wide.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X24 LTE modem is integrated, delivering peak download speeds of 2 Gbps and 316 Mbps upload speeds. Throughput is also improved by up to 70 percent in poor network conditions compared to non-gigabit LTE. Download features of 8cx include 7×20 MHz carrier aggregation, up to 256-QAM, 4×4 MIMO on five carriers, and FD-MIMO. The platform supports a host of cellular technologies such as LTE FDD, LTE TDD including CBRS support, LAA, LTE Broadcast, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, CDMA 1x, EV-DO, and GSM/EDGE.
WiFi features include MI-MIMO, multi-gigabit WiFi, DBS and an integrated baseband.
Qualcomm also showed off a new thin, light and fanless reference design.
While the always-connected PC market hasn’t picked up a great amount of traction, Amon said it presents a great opportunity and Qualcomm is making progress, though not as fast as the company potentially could.
“The issue we have right now is it’s very difficult for the PC channel to sell connectivity and it’s very difficult for the connectivity channel now to sell PC,” Amon told journalists during a round table discussion. “The good thing for Qualcomm is we don’t think it’s a technology problem now, it’s a channel, a marketing and a positioning problem.”
“But because we know what the end game is, we’re just going to keep moving forward,” he added, noting the always-on always-connected PC presents a great opportunity for Qualcomm if successful.
Part of that end game is 5G for the enterprise market, with the Snapdragon 8cx marking the first generation platform that’s ready for Windows 10 enterprise customers. It features new security enhancements including improved crypto-security and remote management and location awareness for enterprise efficiency.
Enterprise solutions that now work with the 8cx platform include Microsoft Azure, F5, Palo Alto networks, Tanium, Forcepoint, PulseSecure, WD, MobileIron, Citrix, McAfee, Microsoft Intune and Office 365, among others.
Amon said that when 5G goes to the enterprise it’s going to mean 5G connected PCs. So the next move for the always-connected PC is getting CIOs to test it, he said, noting it will be easier as a CIO today has relationships both with PC companies and with carriers.
“So we just need to get those two together,” Amon explained.
Amon said it’s also about getting creative in terms of positioning the connectivity features to consumers.
“At the end of the day we know it’s going to be a better experience and the consumer eventually is going to think of [the always-connected PC] like a phone,” he said. He noted that when users get a phone out of the box, they expect connectivity. “I don’t know why PCs should any different,” Amon said.
Customers are currently sampling the Snapdragon 8cx, and is expected to start shipping in commercial devices during the third quarter of 2019.