Sunday, June 23, 2024

Qualcomm is invading PCs, and it’s ‘not going anywhere’

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Qualcomm

Computex 2024 logo.

This story is part of our coverage of Computex, the world’s biggest computing conference.

Qualcomm’s Computex 2024 keynote was relatively uneventful. The company just went on a tear with Microsoft introducing Copilot+ PCs, so the hour-long presentation was a victory lap with executives from every major laptop brand. One note stood out, though — Qualcomm’s CEO Cristiano Amon made a commitment to PCs as a platform.

“We’re in this neighborhood to stay,” Amon said. “We’re not going anywhere.” The context here is that Amon announced that Snapdragon X chips will eventually come in all PC form factors. In the presentation, we saw 2-in-1s, laptops, mini PCs, and even desktops. One day we might even see a handheld gaming PC powered by a Snapdragon CPU.

Qualcomm

It feels a bit strange, especially as we’re standing on the cusp of when the first Copilot+ PCs — and therefore the first true Snapdragon PCs — hit the market. Qualcomm doesn’t just have its foot in the door of Windows PCs. It’s blown the door off completely. I suppose that’s the kind of power you get with the backing of Microsoft.

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Although you can almost taste the hype as it’s been brewing over the past several months, it’s important to take a step back. We don’t have any Snapdragon X Elite products yet. Qualcomm has shared plenty of benchmarks and went through half a dozen rounds of hands-on time with media, but we’ll only know how signficant the Snapdragon push is when actual customers have devices in their hands.

At the very least, the push for Qualcomm has kicked the PC industry into high gear. We just learned about AMD’s Ryzen AI processors, which go over the top of the Snapdragon X Elite with AI performance (so AMD claims). And Intel will talk about its Lunar Lake chips during its Computex keynote, which promises a “radical low-power architecture” to compete with Qualcomm. Even without any devices shipping, it’s clear that the established computing industry sees Qualcomm as a threat.

I’m sure we’ll see Snapdragon chips in all form factors soon enough, and regardless of what you think about this new era of AI PCs, that’s good for everyone. AMD, Intel, and even Nvidia aren’t content to go down without a fight, and that means pushing the envelope with hardware rather than resting on laurels. Ultimately, customers win as a result — that’s something to get excited about.

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