High-end Always Connected Windows 10 PCs may pack Snapdragon 1000 in 2018

Qualcomm is supposedly tackling Intel head-on by producing a Snapdragon 1000 chip targeting high-end Always Connected Windows 10 PCs. There are no specific details for now, only that it will draw more power at around 12 watts than the upcoming 6.5-watt Snapdragon 850 chip designed specifically for Windows 10 PCs. That power requirement would put Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1000 in league with Intel’s 15-watt Core “U” series processors installed in most current Windows 10 laptops and 2-in-1s. 

The news arrives after ARM introduced its new Cortex-A76 processor design last week. Chips manufactured by Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, and many others are based on ARM’s processor architectures that target high performance with little power draw on mobile devices. ARM’s designs are completely different than what you see provided by AMD and Intel (x86) thus Qualcomm chips and Intel processors seemingly “speak different languages.” 

While ARM’s processor architectures dominate the smartphone and tablet markets, Intel (and AMD to some degree) still rule the laptop and desktop markets. But ARM aims to change that, as its new Cortex-A76 design promises to provide laptop-class performance while keeping the same power draw required for smartphones. In Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1000, these Cortex-A76 cores could be joined by Cortex-A55 cores that will kick on when you don’t need a lot of processing horsepower. 

Qualcomm is expected to introduce the Snapdragon 1000 later this year, possibly during the third-annual Snapdragon Technology Summit, given the company introduced its “always connected” initiative with Microsoft during last year’s show in December. At the time, Asus and HP were among the first manufacturers to jump on the always-connected bandwagon, producing laptops based on the Snapdragon 835 chip. The always-connected aspect stems from seamless movement from Wi-Fi to LTE no matter where you are, complemented by a battery life of more than 20 hours. 

Asus is supposedly one of the first to use the Snapdragon 1000 in an always-connected PC. Code-named “Primus,” the motherboard within the laptop design is said to support 15 watts, so perhaps Asus plans to increase the base and boost speeds to get more performance out of the Snapdragon chip. The chip will reportedly support at least one display with a 2K resolution and WiGig connectivity. 

Microsoft’s Always Connected initiative with Qualcomm is its second attempt to bring Windows to ARM-based devices. Microsoft’s first entry was Windows RT for the original Surface tablet, which confused and annoyed owners because they couldn’t run their favorite desktop software on the device. Why? Because ARM-based chips speak a different “language” than AMD- and Intel-based processors. The last release of Windows RT was on September 15, 2015. 

Now we have Windows on ARM. With Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform foundation in full force, developers can use a common application programming interface to create apps that run on all Windows 10 devices, whether it’s an always-connected laptop, a desktop, a smartphone, or the Xbox One. 

With all of this said, Qualcomm’s always-connected roadmap seems to indicate PCs with the Snapdragon 850 will arrive “later this year” followed by Snapdragon 1000 units possibly landing toward the beginning of 2019. 

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