Counterpoint Conversations: Qualcomm, Microsoft to Disrupt the AI PC Market with Snapdragon X series for Windows on Arm

Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon X Elite SoC at the Snapdragon Summit in 2023, followed by the Snapdragon X Plus a couple of months ago. At Microsoft Build 2024, Qualcomm took the stage along with Microsoft to announce the first set of CoPilot+ PCs. At Computex 2024 in Taiwan earlier this week, Qualcomm shed more details on design wins, performances and partnerships. William Li, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research, sat down with Qualcomm’s Alex Katouzian, Group General Manager for Mobile, Compute and XR, to discuss Windows on Arm, the future of computing and more.

The interview

Key takeaways from the discussion

Snapdragon X platform co-designed with Microsoft:

• Qualcomm worked closely with Microsoft to optimize the Snapdragon X platform for Windows 11 CoPilot+ features.
• Snapdragon X can deliver high performance with low power consumption and is superior to traditional x86 solutions. Thus, it also helps extend the battery life on laptops.

Focus on AI to enable new experiences:

AI is becoming pervasive across all Qualcomm products, smartphones, IoT devices, wearables, cars and XR.
• Qualcomm aims to offer intelligent edge solutions powered by AI across Snapdragon platforms.
• Qualcomm is leveraging its experience in mobile AI to bring similar capabilities to AI PCs.
• The Snapdragon X platform comes with a powerful NPU that enables advanced AI features, running both small language models (SLMs) and large language models (LLMs) on-device.

Beyond laptops:

• The Snapdragon X platform is designed for various form factors.
• It can power laptops, desktops, mini-PCs, tablets and even enterprise devices.

Snapdragon Seamless for multi-device connectivity:

• The Snapdragon platform comes with a low-power Bluetooth protocol called Snapdragon Seamless.
• It allows all devices – smartphones, laptop, tablets and TWS, to seamlessly interact with each other, and even enables wireless data sharing.
• The best part is that Snapdragon Seamless works across platforms and operating systems. This means one can easily connect an Android smartphone with a Windows PC and unlock seamless multi-device experiences.

Analyst takeaways:

• Snapdragon X is changing the way we interact with our PCs. Qualcomm claims to offer unparalleled computing performance, lower power consumption, and longer battery life which will further push the limits of PCs. The whole PC market has its eyes on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X.

• Snapdragon leads not just in terms of computing performance but also performance per watt. It claims to offer 2.6x better performance per watt compared to the Apple M3 and a further 5.4x superior performance per watt compared to the Intel Core Ultra 7. Regarding thermal performance, it claims to offer a tremendous 5x better performance than the Intel Core Ultra 7 when running at lower thermals.

• Consumers use different types of mobile devices on a daily basis – Snapdragon can help improve the experience. Snapdragon Seamless allows users to easily move files between devices. Snapdragon Connect offers lightning-fast 5G and Wi-Fi 7, while Snapdragon Sound provides immersive and lossless audio. There is also Snapdragon Secure which enables chip-to-cloud security.

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