Qualcomm made a lot of noise in the always-on-always connected (ACPC )PC space at the Snapdragon Summit Day 3 . The key selling points remain the same: LTE or 5G, multi-day battery life, Windows 10 support, enterprise-grade security, and AI accelerating the experiences.
New to space is Qualcomm now has three platforms which will help OEMs better differentiate their hardware and also hit a much larger range of price tiers.
The 7c compute platform is the entry of the three unveiled. It is built on the 8nm manufacturing process. The 7c should hit impressive price points as low as $300 and has the goal of the computing power of entry PCs. This is substantial price erosion and should be much more interesting for students or those on a tight budget than first-generation ACPCs.
In past years, gaming was not even mentioned. With the power and software improvements, light gaming is now supported. 4k HDR video capture @30 frames per second are also supported in the entry offer. The platform’s cellular connectivity supports Cat13 up to 150Mbps.
The 8c compute platform is built on 7nm process technology. Relative to the 7c, GPU and CPU are more powerful yet battery life is not negatively affected; 6+ trillion operations per second (TOPs) are supported. The chip is testing 30% faster than last year’s platform. Cellular connectivity supports Cat20 LTE, 256-QAM, 4x4MIMO, carrier aggregation (aka Gigabit LTE). The platform supports two 4k displays at 4k ultra HD. Qualcomm QuickCharge is also a feature. Prices of hardware with the 8c compute platform inside should be in the $500-$800 range.
The 8cx compute platform is the premium of AOAC PCs. It also has a Snapdragon X55 modem—meaning 5G is supported.8cx is the premium platform and hardware using the 8cx are expected to have a point-of-sale cost of $1000 and more. GPU and CPU performance is advertised as 60% more power-efficient than the Snapdragon 850.5G FDD, TDD, SA, NSAs, sub6, and mmWave is all supported. Or, as Qualcomm describes it, ‘real 5G’.
The sector should see growth with the new, lower price tiers. Look for more OEMs to be supporting AOAC PCs in 2020
Qualcomm also launched the world’s first 5G XR platform during the annual Snapdragon tech summit, XR2. This is in addition to the XR1 platform which now has more than 30 devices in the market. The XR series are dedicated chips for eXtended Reality (XR) devices. These have had moderate success so far, mostly due to the limitations of the XR market, but true immersive experiences need a solid connectivity platform.
XR2 5G platform brings significant performance improvements over the XR1. These performance improvements include 2X the CPU and GPU performance, 4X more video bandwidth, 6X higher resolution and 11X AI improvements. Additionally, the Snapdragon XR2 platform is also the world’s first to support seven concurrent cameras and a dedicated computer vision processor. This opens up the possibilities of different use cases, especially in the enterprise segment. The XR2 supports high graphics rendering, support for 8K 360 degree videos at 60fps and a custom silicon built to reduce latencies for immersive visual experiences. In audio, XR2 offers voice activation and context detection for certain use cases
Overall Qualcomm, during the 2019 Snapdragon summit managed to unveil some powerful platforms. With 5G all set to penetrate faster in 2020, Qualcomm will be betting big on 865 and 765 platforms. Additionally, XR2 5G along with 7C, 8C, and 8CX opens up new opportunities in coming years