Qualcomm is invading the territory of Intel, announcing Windows PCs that use the same Snapdragon chips as their phone and can last up to a second day of use.
On Tuesday at its Snapdragon Technology Forum, Qualcomm showed off its Snapdragon 835 mobile PC platform on an HP Envy x2 tablet and an Asus NovaGo ultrabook. Both work on the company's Snapdragon 835, yes, the same processor (and cellular modem) within popular phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
Qualcomm uses its success with smartphones to justify its foray into PCs. It demands performance all day long from your phone, while you are constantly connected to the Internet. Why should not your PC offer the same?
Let's clear up one concern immediately: Qualcomm Windows PCs run Windows 10, not the abandoned Windows RT variant that only runs Microsoft's UWP applications. However, these PCs emulate non-UWP applications and slow down performance. Qualcomm expects it to be willing to change some speed because of the promise that the Snapdragon mobile PC platform will offer between 14 and 24 hours of constant use, interspersed with inactive periods of "connected wait" time.
What it will mean to you: At some point, the performance of your phone, tablet or PC exceeds your demands, what we call "good enough" computing. The Qualcomm bets are already there, at least for a group of potential users. Instead, it focuses on basic productivity, always active (cellular) connectivity and battery life.
Many questions remain in the air: is it good enough for you? How well does a Snapdragon PC work in emulated everyday applications, such as Google Chrome? How close to reality are these claims about battery life? Do customers want to pay for an additional cellular plan? If Qualcomm can meet their demands and offer (affordable) ever active WWAN connectivity, a small competition for Intel is always good news for consumers.
Qualcomm Snapdragon PC: power, not performance
Keep in mind that chip makers like Intel – and, to a lesser extent, AMD – are interested in selling chips that offer the best possible performance at the lowest price. low. That is not the priority of Qualcomm.
"Most of the people who work on these form factors are interested in the piece of connectivity, and things like music, email, some productivity, shopping, it's mostly an extension of a phone," Miguel said. Nunes, senior director of product management at Qualcomm. . "We do not see people using heavy workloads, such as graphic design, if they do, they avoid these form factors."
"I have been using one of these devices [Snapdragon-powered] for several months," Nunes added. "It has replaced my Surface Pro device, and I go several days without charging."
Nunes was referring to a version powered by Snapdragon of one of the devices, HP Envy x2. PCWorld reviewed a similar tablet, the HP Elite x2, which includes an Intel Core m chip inside it. The Elite x2 delivered more than seven hours of battery life in our tests, which included the constant reduction of the video. Qualcomm claims that the same tablet will offer 20 hours of battery life with a Snapdragon inside.
Put another way, Qualcomm believes that a device with a 48-watt-hour battery – basically the battery within the latest Microsoft Surface Pro – will last 21.2 hours when a 1080p video is played. (As a reference, the Surface Pro lasted approximately 8.5 hours before running out of battery in our tests)